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• Sign up, navigate the interface, and make connections • Make your tweets unique • Use the latest shortcuts and tools • Promote your business or cause with Twitter
Laura Fitton, @pistachio Michael E. Gruen, @gruen Leslie Poston, @leslie
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by Laura Fitton, Michael E. Gruen, and Leslie Poston
Foreword by Jack Dorsey
Inventor, Founder, & Chairman, Twitter
Twitter® For Dummies® 2nd Edition ,
Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. 111 River Street Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774 www.wiley.com Copyright © 2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published simultaneously in Canada No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, (978) 750-8400, fax (978) 646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, (201) 748-6011, fax (201) 748-6008, or online at http:// www.wiley.com/go/permissions. Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for the Rest of Us!, The Dummies Way, Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way, Dummies.com, Making Everything Easier, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/ or its affiliates in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission. Twitter is a registered trademark of Twitter, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THE AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ. FULFILLMENT OF EACH COUPON OFFER IS THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OFFEROR. For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002. For technical support, please visit www.wiley.com/techsupport. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Library of Congress Control Number: 2010930960 ISBN: 978-0-470-76879-2 Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Gruen: Michael E. and serves clients like Johnson & Johnson. She is also the cofounder of Film Pop!. Currently. As a speaker and leading authority in social networking. Laura is a magna cum laude graduate of Cornell University’s eclectic College Scholar program. Pistachio comprises the TouchBase blog (covering business use of microsharing). Michael E. she has more than 200 ebooks and books in her repertoire and several more in development. She relaunched Pistachio Consulting in September 2008 to connect businesses to new ideas and innovations using all the tools of microsharing. brand and business development. The first to publish a white paper on “Enterprise Microsharing” (popularly called “Internal Twitter”). In 2006–2007. traveled. he has fulfilled the role of interim Chief Operations/Chief Technical Officer with several organizations in need of innovative leadership during crucial developmental periods. Leslie Poston: Leslie Poston is passionate about helping people and businesses find their way to success via technology.” she studied science writing with Carl Sagan. a digital and new media services development agency for independent film as well as a long-time consultant to the entertainment industry for new media development and marketing. Today she lives in Boston with two toddler daughters and a giant Leonberger. raised a niece. ran a hobby farm. Michael briefly joined Morgan Stanley as an Analyst. PeopleBrowsr. Michael graduated cum laude from Hamilton College as a Senior Fellow with a BA in Computer Science.About the Authors Laura Fitton: Laura “@Pistachio” Fitton is leading the charge of sussing out intelligent and productive business uses of emergent technologies like Twitter. she also writes for and runs the TouchBase blog and is an early beta tester of Seesmic and Qik. Ford Motor Corporation. and CommuNteligence. He lives in New York City and. new media. the TouchBase Link Blog (stream of Twitter and microsharing articles for businesspeople. rock climbed. and lived abroad. Transplant-1. As a writer. The Sister Project. In “past lives. races taxis on his road bike through the city streets. Gruen has earned significant respect in the corporate sphere and within the startup community as a trusted advisor since 2003. where she is read by thousands of community members. She practices Ashtanga yoga and plays ice hockey in her “spare” time and is a stroke survivor dedicated to raising awareness. In many cases. she is the Founder and CEO of Uptown Uncorked social media and business development consultancy. sailed on a schooner. Michael is CEO of a technology company in NYC and the Executive Director of Hamilton Venture Network. . wherever they are published). on the off-hours.
skiing. When she isn’t watching or playing sports (especially hockey and UFC/MMA). or working. and the nationwide Strong Women in Tech initiative. PodCamp NH/ME. meeting new people and making connections with the world. . she has also founded Social Media Breakfast New Hampshire. playing with her Rottweiler. sailing. supporting local bands. playing piano.A firm believer in translating online relationships and successes into the offline world. Her educational background is in English Literature and Clinical Psychology. hiking. Leslie can be found on Twitter.
Twitter readers.com — thanks also to Matthew Greeley and the BrightIdea team for use of their Webstorm software) and have helped us target important facts to include in this book. this book would not have come together as quickly as it did. friends. Laura particularly wants to thank her co-authors. Mary Corder. for allowing us to write this book in the first place. and to Chris Webb and Ellen Gerstein at Wiley for tirelessly explaining Twitter to their colleagues and introducing Laura to Steve. or read Pistachio Consulting’s TouchBase blog. The three of us would like to thank the Twitter community who have shared their ideas on BrightIdea (http://tfd. thank you for your support. mentors.Dedication To our Twitter friends. . Elizabeth Kuball. We’re also grateful to every follower on the @dummies account and everyone who retweeted for and about Twitter For Dummies. Mark Burstiner. Laura Miller. and assistance in writing this book. Special thanks to Alexa Scordato (@alexa). Authors’ Acknowledgments Writing and publishing this book was a team effort. and @mdy. If it were not for our wonderful editors and production team. Mary Bednarek. commented on. Thanks to Kelly Ewing. Beth Taylor. Jodi Jensen. and everyone who has written for. Steve Hayes. Alex Howard (@digiphile). and Jennifer Webb. Andy Cummings.brightidea. help. To our families. And a very special thanks to Caroline McCarthy (@caro) for lending an extra hand when we needed it most. Steven Miller. Many thanks to our acquisitions editor. just plain thank you.
custhelp. or fax 317-572-4002. For other comments. Ronald Terry. Director of Composition Services . at 877-762-2974. Vice President and Executive Group Publisher Andy Cummings. Corder.the5thwave. Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following: Acquisitions and Editorial Project Editor: Beth Taylor Acquisitions Editor: Steve Hayes Copy Editor: Beth Taylor Technical Editor: Zachary Szukala Editorial Manager: Jodi Jensen Sr. please send us your comments through our online registration form located at http://dummies.S.S. Christine Williams Proofreader: Shannon Ramsey Indexer: Sharon Shock Special Help Elizabeth Kuball Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies Richard Swadley.com) Composition Services Project Coordinator: Patrick Redmond Layout and Graphics: Ashley Chamberlain.Publisher’s Acknowledgments We’re proud of this book. Kelly Kijovsky.com. outside the U. at 317-572-3993. Vice President and Publisher Mary Bednarek. Editorial Assistant: Cherie Case Cartoons: Rich Tennant (www. please contact our Customer Care Department within the U. Vice President and Publisher Composition Services Debbie Stailey. Editorial Director Publishing for Consumer Dummies Diane Graves Steele. Executive Acquisitions Director Mary C.
............................................................ 269 Index ................................................. 7 Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 139 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter............................................................ 255 Chapter 15: Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services............................................................ 91 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ....................................... 195 Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter................ 75 Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter ............. 125 Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem .......... 103 Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus ..................... 265 Glossary ..... 19 Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface .................. 73 Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up ............................................................ 140 Characters at a Time ......................................................................... Twitter World! ......................................................... 253 Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools ........ 215 Chapter 13: Changing the World...................................com ........................................................... 9 Chapter 2: Hello......................................................................... xvii Introduction ........................... 41 Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best ........ 1 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? .............................................. 61 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter .................... 105 Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter..Contents at a Glance Foreword......................................................................................................................................... 261 Chapter 16: Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter ................................................................................................... 231 Part V: The Part of Tens ...................................................................................................................................... 173 Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice .. One Tweet at a Time ........................... 273 ........ 175 Chapter 11: Twitter for Business ............................................................
............ ........................................... ....... ...... 4 How This Book Is Organized ...................... .............................. .............. 4 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ............................................ 7 Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts.... ................. Twitter World! ........................................ 5 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter ................................... ..................... .............................................. .................................... 6 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? . 4 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? .................................................................................................................................................. ..... 14 Getting Your Tweet Wet ...................... ....................................................................... ............................................... ....................................................................... .... 10 How Individuals Use Twitter ..................................................9 Figuring Out This Twitter Thing ........ 17 Branching Out with Third-Party Applications ......................................... 34 Changing your background .................. ................... ............................... 3 Foolish Assumptions . 17 Chapter 2: Hello..................................... ....... 31 Customizing Your Profile ...................... 29 Say Hello! Your First Tweets ......................................................................... .................... 1 About This Book ........... .. 5 Icons Used in This Book ....................... ..... ..................................... 140 Characters at a Time ........................ ....................................................... 37 .................. ....... 29 Inviting Contacts ........ 15 Tweeting Like a Pro ........ ................... 1 New for Second Edition ......................... ............. 5 Where to Go from Here ................ 27 Searching by using Twitter Search ..................................................... ................ 24 Finding Contacts ....................................................................................... 5 Part V: The Part of Tens .............................................................................. 32 Changing your avatar ............. ........................................................................... 3 What You’re Not to Read .................. xvii Introduction .................................. 2 Motivation .................. 19 Picking a Name ......................... 4 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter.............. ............................................. 13 Businesses That Use Twitter....Table of Contents Foreword.............................................. ................................ 12 How Organizations Use Twitter .......................................... ............................................ ...................... ...... ................................................................................ ............................................................................................................. ........................................................................................19 Signing Up ................... ......................................................... ............................................................................................................................ . 2 Conventions Used in This Book ................ 35 Using your background image to expand your profile .. 26 Using useful people-finding tools ...................
............... 52 Seeing Who You Follow . ............. 84 Retweeting ...........75 Finding People to Follow on Twitter ......................... ...... 73 Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up ................... 67 Going Mobile: The Key to Happiness .. 82 How to Follow People ..... 2nd Edition Adjusting Your Text-Messaging Settings ............... . 83 Replying to Tweets ............................. 79 Checking out Twitter Lists..... 44 The Twitter stream . . .. .............. ... ........................................................... .. . ............ .............. ........................... ..... 41 The sidebar ........ ..................................................... . ...................... . ..... ...... ....... ......................... .................................. ................. through Twitter ... 38 Controlling the text-message flow ............. 86 Retweeting the old-fashioned way ............................................................................... .. ................................................. ................................. 83 Following People Even More Quickly with Hover................................................. .................. 87 Commentary on the retweet..................... 66 Widgets and gadgets .......... ................... ...................................xii Twitter For Dummies........ ................... .................................... ............ 56 You’ve Been Listed ............................. .... ................ ...... ........................................... ..................................................................... .... 45 Tweeting to One Specific Person: @Replies .............................. 43 The “What’s Happening?” box.............61 The User Multi-Face: Interacting with Twitter Every Which Way ..................... ........ ........... 68 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter........ .................... 61 Text messages (SMS delivery) ........ .................................. 75 Look who’s talking ........... .........................41 Starting Out on the Home Screen .................................................. 67 Preview: @anywhere .............................. . ........................... .. .............. 65 TwitterFox............................... .......................................... ...................... ......................... 80 By following back ........................................... 77 Using Simple Search ....... ........... . 55 Looking at What You’ve Tweeted .......................... ................. ... 78 Inviting people personally.. .............. ............................................................................................. 40 Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface ............... ......................................... 54 Figuring Out Who’s Following You . .......................... ...... 48 Playing (Twitter) Favorites .................... 62 RSS feeds ......................................................... ......... ............. ................................... 46 Shhh! Sending Private Notes via Direct Messages ........ .... .......... . ............ ................................ ............. 39 Selecting your text notifications... . ......... ............. person by person . ....................................... ................................................ 58 Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best ........ .................... . 76 Searching for people.......................... .. . . 50 Becoming a Renaissance Man via the Everyone Tab (RIP) ............ .... .............. ............. .......... ..................... ...................................... .... .............. 64 Desktop clients ......................................................... . .................. ................................................. ............................. .. 87 ......
...... 119 On/Off ........................... ............................................. 111 Creating Lists .................... .................. ........................................................... .......................... ............................... My Feeds...................................................................... ...... ................................................................................................................. 114 GeoLocation.............................. 88 Direct-messaging shorthand ............. 108 Inserting Links into Your Tweets ....... ....... 110 Using Your Twitter History and Favorites ................. .............................................. ............. .............................................................................................. 117 D – direct message ............................... ........................ 89 Encouraging More Followers .................................. 109 Short-URL analytics ..................... 112 Following lists....................... 108 Tweeting frequency ................................................................................ .............................. 118 @ – reply ........................................................................... 120 Stats ...................................... ......................................... 118 F – follow ...................... 121 Leave ..................... ............................................... 88 Should I @ or DM? ..... .... ...................... 107 Engaging others on Twitter ........................................................................................................ 122 Codes may come.................. 105 Language and abbreviations ......... 122 Quit and Stop ....... ....... ..................................... 97 Following Celebrities on Twitter ....... 119 Fav – favorite a tweet ........ 114 Erasing your tracks ............... ..... 121 On/Off username .. ........................................................................................ ...... 91 Verified Accounts .. ..... .105 Following Twitter Protocol......... 116 Your Feeds...... .............................. 100 Tweeting in Unison ........................................... ...................................... 121 Whois ............................. .................. .............................. .................................................................................. 98 Twitter Directories .......................................................................Table of Contents Direct Messaging ................................................................... ......................... . . ....................................... .................................... and codes may go ..... .....................................91 Tweeting with Regular People ........... 103 Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus ............................. 120 Get ........... ...................... ...................... 116 Deciphering Twitter Shorthand Code .................................................... 122 .... ........................................ ...... ....................................................................... ............... ......... ........... 89 xiii Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter.......................... ................ ......................................................................................................................... .... ................................... ......................................................................... .. 119 Nudge ................................................. .................................. ............... ...... 94 Talking Politics with Actual Politicians .................................. 101 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ................................. 93 Building Company Relationships with Twitter ............... ................. .................................. 99 Signing Up for Syndicated Material .......................... ..................... ........................................... ............................... Everyone’s Feeds............ ................................... 121 Invite ............. ............ .................................
................. ..175 Finding Your Voice................................ ................................................................................................................. 159 Tag Clouds ............................... ........... 132 Open Authentication – OAuth ............ .................................................................. ................................................................................................. 181 Viewing your network ...................... ................... 147 Desktop clients ........ ....... ........ ................ 167 Knowing Your Network with Follower and Following Tools.................................................... 165 Radian6................ ....................... ............................................ ..........xiv Twitter For Dummies.................. 154 Getting All Your Online Activity in One Place by Using Aggregators................................................................ ....... 161 Keeping in Contact with Visualization and Listening Tools....... 131 Sending RSS feeds back to Twitter .... ........................................................................ 127 Location! Location! Location! .............................................. . ............................ ........................ 130 Grabbing RSS feeds ...... .............................. 179 Identifying Your Audience .................. ..... .................... ................. ........ .......................................... ........... 175 Your business on Twitter ...... 156 Using Trending Topics: The Zeitgeist of Twitter ................................ 140 TwitScoop ............................. ......... ... ...... ........... 126 Via smartphones or PDAs .............................................. .......... 137 Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem .................. 131 Using Third-Party Services ............139 Finding Interesting Twitter Talk with Search Tools ............................... ...... ................. 163 Twitter Search ..... 140 Twitter Search .. ............................. ................................................................................................ ... ................................. 168 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter .......... .......................... .... ......................................................................... ... .............................................. ..... .......... ...... 126 Via text messaging ........................ Whether for Business or Pleasure .................................... 183 Understanding your extended network ................. 151 Keeping Your Tweets Short with URL Shorteners .......... .125 Tweeting with Your Cellphone ........ .................... 143 Hashtags............................. ........ ............ ... 182 Targeting specific networks ............ 183 Measuring influence ........ ... ................... 134 Sharing Tweets All Around the Web ................... 178 Mixing business with pleasure ............... 185 .. 128 Using Twitter through Your E-Mail ............ ....... .............................................................................. . 181 Diversifying your network .................... ... ................................................ 2nd Edition Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter........................ ................................................................................................... 158 Playing with Twitter Games and Memes ......... 177 You as you on Twitter .. .......................... 148 Mobile clients .................. ....... ................................................................... ........... ............................................ 162 Google Alerts ............... 135 Auto-Tweeting ....................... 128 Swimming Your Twitter Stream with RSS Feeds . ............ ................ 145 Expanding Your Twitter World by Using Clients ....... ................. ................ ...com .......................................... ................ ........ 173 Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice .................................... ........................
........... ................... ...... 190 Keeping Twitter Personal ............................................................................................ ........................................ 229 Chapter 13: Changing the World....................... 237 Organizing People Online and in Real Life ............................... .................................. ......... ......... 234 Natural disasters ......................... .................. 211 But................. 226 Accessing the experts ................ ......................................................................... 204 Sharing Company Updates ......................... ......... 203 Promoting Bands and Artists ..................................... ........................ ................................................................................................... 236 Helping others ..Table of Contents Keeping Your Tweets Authentic .................................. ......................................... ..... ............................ ............. 238 Organizing on a small scale ... 187 Sharing links ..................................................... 229 Sharing Information.... .................................................... . . ....................................... 198 Customer service ................................. .. ............................................ .......................................................... 207 Conducting Research ............................. 216 Making New Friends ........................... ................................................. ................................................. ..... ................................... ...... ................ 221 Twitter-based events ............................ 200 Networking on Twitter ........ 192 Maximizing privacy and safety..... ............. .. 213 Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter.. ............... 191 Protecting personal details .................. .................................................................................215 Using Twitter as a Support System .. ................................................................................. ................................................. ........... ..... 187 Image is everything......... ...... 243 ...........................................195 The Business of Twitter ........ 220 Searching for topics of interest ............... ........................... 231 Charity events ...... .. ............................... ...... ...... 240 Banding together for creative purposes ...........................................231 Twittering the Globe for Change ............ 222 To Follow or Not to Follow? ............... ................. 212 Sharing Knowledge ............................................................. ..................... .............................. . .............. 193 xv Chapter 11: Twitter for Business .............................. 196 Public relations ..................................... .............................................................................. ................................................ 202 Offering Promotions and Products ............... 186 Joining the conversation...... What If My Employees .......... 229 Getting recommendations .. 195 Putting Your Best Face Forward ............................................................... 215 Connecting with People .................. .............................. 188 Being genuine ............................... ...................................................... ........................................................................ ........... 232 Politics ........................................ 225 Getting Quick Answers........................................... ... ........ ................................................................... .. ........................... 241 Planning an event............................................... 190 Evangelizing your causes ..................................... but Not Too Personal............... ..................... ...... ............................................ 210 Going Transparent............... One Tweet at a Time ..................... .............................................................. ..... ........... 206 Building Community.................. ............... ................... .......... .................................................... 228 Information about breaking news ...... .................................
......................................................................... ............. and TwitterBerry ........... ........................................... 246 Being a Twitter journalist ................................. . 266 Food........... PocketTwit...................... ........... ..... ....... ..... ....................................................................................................... ..... and Spirits ............................................................ 260 Chapter 15: Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services .. ................................................................. .... ................................................................ 255 Seesmic Desktop: Managing Multiple Accounts ... 259 TwitPic and YFrog .... ............ .................. .......................... ... ...................... 261 Tweecious: Use Delicious to Organize the Links You Tweet ..................... 2nd Edition Engaging in Citizen Journalism .................................. ...... ..................... ...................... ............ ......... 246 Citizen journalism hits the mainstream ....................................... ..... . ............... .................................. ............................................................... .................................................................... 258 TwtVite: Event Planning................................................ 266 Travel ........... .... .................................................. ........................................ .. ....................................................... 258 FriendorFollow: Managing Followers and Followings . 269 Index ......................................... 273 ................................. 251 Part V: The Part of Tens ......................... 268 Event Planning .. .............. 257 Smartphone Clients Twitter...................265 Plain Old Networking . Wine..................... ....................................... 262 Tweetworks ............ ....................................... 264 Chapter 16: Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter ........... 264 Blip... .................... ....... ....................................... .. ................... ..... ....... ................................ ................................fm ...............................................................................255 TweetDeck: Connecting with Many ................. 267 Education ...... ...................................................... ................. ............ .............................................. 265 Breaking News.............................. ......... 268 Charities and Causes ...................... 247 Tweeting accurate info ........................ ........... . ....................................................................................................................................................... .................................. ...... ..... 262 ExecTweets.................. 257 Twellow: Finding People to Follow .............. 267 Music .............. .................... 261 StockTwits ............................. ....................... 266 Finance .............................. 263 Tweetree ...................... .................................... .......................... ................................... ....... 260 Xpenser: Keeping Track of Your Expenses ................................ ...................................... 267 Books....................................................... 250 Gathering your journalistic tools ....... ............................... 262 TweetGrid ... ...................... 263 Link Bunch ..261 BreakingNews.............................................. 268 Glossary ..........................xvi Twitter For Dummies...................... ......................................................................................................... 253 Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools ................ 256 CoTweet: Corporate Tweeting ...................................... ... 259 Twitterfeed: Getting Your Blog Posts to Twitter .................. .................... ................................................... 264 TwitterGrader .........
simple technologies like this don’t happen over night. Founder. Jack Dorsey Inventor.Foreword L et’s be honest: You’re not a dummy. Twitter San Francisco. start here. expose trends in local and global circles. Start small. Technologies are often designed to guard against the seemingly errant desires and mistakes of the commons. What’s remarkable about this technology you intend to learn is its ability to immediately expose and evolve the true desires of the commons. be the unexpected. & Chairman. and spark interaction. What you’re holding in your hands describes an essence of communication upon which millions will build their own value.” I expect you to build something unexpected. Although it may seem so. late-night frenetic insight. false starts. Twitter is a life’s work built around three tenets: minimize thinking around communication. and patient distillation. What looks like a story of 1 to 3 years actually has a shadow of over 15 years of work. dumb mistakes. California . While not everything can be conveyed in under 140 characters. Whenever possible. the essence of Twitter can: “Expect the unexpected.
2nd Edition .xviii Twitter For Dummies.
or privately from one user to another. representatives. you choose whose updates you want to receive — which people you want to follow. and we have a good sense about how people are using it. But Twitter is a living. You can view these messages. Twitter has changed and enhanced the way that people communicate with each other. called tweets (sometimes called updates). 140-character messages from your friends. or from complete strangers who share (or don’t share) your interests. from the businesses you frequent. and with social movements and initiatives. semi-publicly to users whom you approve to receive your messages. breathing. or shareholders in Twitter.Introduction H ave you heard? All the world’s a-twitter! Twitter is a tool that you can use to send and receive short. you may be surprised about how much value you. As a user of Twitter. but not necessarily the Twitter world at large. over time. aren’t employees. . from the publications you read. and alert authorities to emergencies and illegal activities both domestic and abroad. You can say a lot within very little space. with brands and companies. coordinate rescue efforts in the wake of a natural disaster. and Leslie). This paragraph? 137. Twitter has empowered users to raise money for people in need. In turn. the authors (Laura. your friends. We’ve been on Twitter for quite a while. either on the Internet or on your cellphone. from the organizations you care about. other users can elect to follow your updates. The opinions that we give in this book represent what’s worked for us and our networks. You may also find. and because it takes only a little time to read and update. and your family can extract from Twitter. You can send messages publicly for the entire Twitter community. About This Book We. Michael. that you communicate more effectively and that your writing becomes shorter and more to the point. Skeptical of what you can say in 140 characters? The first paragraph of the Introduction weighs in at 41 characters.
keep in touch with @dummies or our personal accounts (@pistachio. its privacy features. and individuals who we feel are using Twitter in innovative and surprising ways. or general direction overnight. so please use our guides as guides. author team has had a few changes: Leslie. previously knows as @geechee_girl. so look out for them in sidebars as you go through the book. we’ve updated our screenshots and how-to’s to reflect the latest changes in the Twitter. is now known as @leslie. After you understand how the service works. You can also keep up with the Twitter For Dummies community at www. (However.) In addition to feature changes. and is the Founder and CEO of oneforty (or @oneforty on Twitter). @gruen. the basics of Twitter likely will always be the same. the Twitter For Dummies. We reached out to some of the companies. . try out.2 Twitter For Dummies. and @leslie) for the latest on our thoughts about Twitter. Lastly. we also included a smattering of new case studies and examples that we thought you’d find relevant in understanding how the world has adjusted to Twitter.com interface. Twitter itself may change its feature set. 2nd Edition and constantly changing dynamic community. Note: While things change. or through the #dummies hashtag (if you’re up-to-date on hashtags). not the be-all and end-all of the Twitter experience. since the first edition. you can pretty easily find any feature that may have moved since the publication of this book. Hundreds of these new tools launch every month. which changes the way that people use it. and benefit from the incredible results and opportunities that can happen on Twitter.TwitterForDummies. New for Second Edition In this edition.org. Twitter has released a number of enhancements to its interface that make it even easier and more accessible to interact with the community. In fact. do remember that Twitter is an Internet product and is subject to change at any time. Although the layout and the exact location of everything may change around a bit. 2nd Edition. Michael now protects his tweets out of suppressed teenage rebellion and for no otherwise discernable reason. Laura still goes by @pistachio. not-for-profits. Motivation We wrote this book to help more people understand. Much of Twitter’s value comes from the ecosystem of tools built by others to work together with Twitter.
you can probably safely ignore many of the starting chapters and check out Parts III and IV. we show it in bold. and significant changes took place four times during the writing of this book. Note: Screenshots in this book show you what the interface was like in spring 2010. Okay. If you’re a Twitter pro and could have probably written this book. and recycle it when you’re done. a company dedicated to enhancing users’ Twitter experiences by providing Twitter with its missing App Store. Twitter can be fun. If you’ve already created an account that has some friends and followers. so you can easily see it. After 12 months of meeting incredible people and all her business leads. you can probably skip the chapters that talk about how to sign up and get moving — but you might find it useful to review the sections on how to dress up your profile. If you ever run into Michael and he seems a bit agitated when you mention Twitter’s ever-changing interface. from top to bottom. Laura finally took the hint and refocused her entire career on Twitter itself. we’re kidding — it’ll make a great gift for the Twitter-skeptics in your life! . However. bottom to top. We capitalize the names of Twitter pages and features — such as Settings. Before she “got” Twitter. to help others experience the benefits of mobile social networking. many considered Twitter a fad. feel free not to read anything. along with speaking at events all around the world. Treasured new friends. she founded OneForty (oneforty. and surprisingly powerful. and incredible opportunities continually wash up on her beach. Twitter has been like a generous ocean. In 2009. she was practically homebound with two kids under two. What You’re Not to Read We wrote this book for the first-time Twitter users.com). or any other way). 3 Conventions Used in This Book In this book. it’s because he had to re-shoot screenshots and rewrite descriptions three times each edition. Whenever you have to enter text. Just ask Laura. trying to rebuild her personal and professional network in a whole new city. we stick to a few conventions to help with readability. you can read bulleted lists in any order you like (from top to bottom. Monofont text denotes an e-mail address or Web site URL. mentors. Major news organizations and companies have adopted Twitter profiles and accounts to interact with their communities 24/7. use this book as a doorstop. If you’re a business and have already gotten rolling on Twitter. productive. supportive.Introduction When we released the first edition. Twitter’s been changing lives and businesses for years now. Numbered lists guide you through tasks that you must complete in order. He could certainly use a hug.
from understanding how the Twitter feeds work to getting up and running with an account. including some things that may not be immediately obvious. each chapter in Twitter For Dummies. We also look at the different things that you can do with the Twitter.com interface. . if you read them in order.4 Twitter For Dummies. is self-contained. However. we make the following assumptions: ✓ You’re at least 13 years of age. we’ve organized the book into five parts. and. 2nd Edition. How This Book Is Organized Like other For Dummies books. (You have to be at least 13 years old to have a Twitter account. ✓ You have a working e-mail address that you can access. ✓ You have a mobile phone and know how to send text messages (if you want to access Twitter by using your mobile phone). We give you all that information in this part. you probably want to know how to find the sorts of people you want to follow and how you can start communicating with them in a way that makes sense on the medium. and we provide a list of many resources that you may find useful in getting Twitter to work best for you. you will gain a strong understanding of the Twitter landscape. ✓ Bonus: You have a smartphone (if you want to use a mobile Twitter application). ✓ You can read. You can figure out how to find and invite your friends to Twitter and start communicating with them in public and in private. 2nd Edition Foolish Assumptions In this book. from signing up to tweeting like a pro. Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter After you become familiar with the basics of Twitter.) ✓ You have access to a computer and the Internet (and know how to use them!). Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Part I introduces you to the very basics of Twitter. and you can read them in any order you want.
we show how Twitter has started to effect social change and how grassroots efforts by users have helped raise money. Icons Used in This Book Icons in this book point out important tidbits for you to look at. and even some other applications that have the same or similar functionality as Twitter that you can check out. and other organizations can use Twitter. The Tip icon points out helpful information that’s likely to improve your Twitter experience. and even elect presidents. In these chapters. Lastly. We go through the different ways in which people. and other content discovery tools and metrics that you may want to try. We also go over third-party solutions. Part V: The Part of Tens The final section is typical of every For Dummies book. not-for-profits. remember. from desktop clients to mobile phone tricks to short-hand commands that can drastically improve the efficiency and information that you can get from Twitter. In this section. we ask you to ask the big questions about why you’d want to use Twitter and what sort of presence you might want to cultivate. and absorb. and how they’ve successfully used Twitter to improve their brands’ transparency and customer relations. we go over the icons that we use throughout the book to guide you on your Twitter journey. . The Remember icon marks interesting or useful facts that we cover in detail in earlier chapters or something that’s so important that you need to remember it while you’re using Twitter. ten favorite ways to use Twitter. We also provide case studies and examples for how brands and organizational presences have benefited other users on Twitter and themselves. search tools. expose news. businesses.Introduction 5 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Part III goes in depth into all the ways that you can interact with the Twitter interface. Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter In Part IV. we provide you with highlights of our ten favorite Twitter tools.
If you’ve been using Twitter for a while and understand where everything is. read these paragraphs. personal. 12. mosey on over to Chapter 1 and start reading — we can get you up to speed in no time. where we shift Twitter into high gear. rest assured that we’re letting our inner geeks run wild.6 Twitter For Dummies. If you just want to know the basics. but you want a better idea of how to use the service. If you want all the details you can get. When we use this icon. Where to Go from Here If you haven’t used Twitter before. Part IV (particularly Chapters 11. we’re letting you know that you should proceed with caution. The Warning icon highlights potential danger. You may find yourself with a security or privacy concern. Here we point out information that’s interesting but not absolutely necessary to your understanding of the topic at hand. we’ll see you online! . head over to Part III. and not-for-profit stories that can help you grow as a Twitter user. With that. If Part III is old hat for you. skip it. Whenever you see this icon. and 13) goes over some interesting business. 2nd Edition The Privacy icon denotes that you should be careful about the Twitter activities that we’re discussing.
Part I Twitter? Like Birds Do? .
. . In this part. we cover the basics of why you may want to use Twitter and how to set yourself up with a Twitter profile that you can call your own. . we show you where to find all the basic stuff you need so that you can get started in no time.com doesn’t make obvious why you’d want to use Twitter in the first place.Y In this part . Additionally. ou may find getting started with Twitter a bit daunting because Twitter.
com itself says that The New York Times calls Twitter “one of the fastest-growing phenomena on the Internet.Chapter 1 Sharing Your Thoughts. we do our best to introduce the basic ideas and explain how Twitter works and why it’s so powerful. it seems as though all the world’s a-twitter. Twitter is basically a powerful mobile social network that allows you to keep up with the people. and businesses use Twitter ▶ Discovering what you can do with Twitter ▶ Looking into third-party Twitter applications ou may have heard of Twitter but have no idea what it actually is.twitter. In this chapter. (You’ll have to bear with us to find out why you would want to do that.” and Newsweek noted that “Suddenly. “Twitter is on its way to becoming the next killer app.” What will you think? Every day. It also lets you share what you’re doing with the world — everyone from your family and friends to complete strangers. organizations. Y . 140 Characters at a Time In This Chapter ▶ Understanding what Twitter’s all about ▶ Seeing how individuals. we see dozens of new ideas and ways to use Twitter. businesses. and organizations you’re interested in — whether you know them personally or not.” And www.” Time magazine says.) Harvard Professor Andrew McAfee (@amcafee) describes Twitter this way: “With Twitter. my friends are never far away.
Like blogging. instant-messaging communication tools. When you think about how millions of people around the world are posting Twitter messages. you’re limited to just 140 characters. and responding to one another. and humor. and organizations that you care about. Not only are twitterers innovating clever forms of one-liners. Unlike blogging. so that only those you choose can see your tweets). but unlike instant messaging.” a zeitgeist of what everyone is thinking about and doing and feeling. such as AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). It’s a social network — a digital abstraction that represents who you know and who you’re interested in (whether you know them personally or not) — that you can access from your computer.twitter.” The idea of Twitter sounds simple — deceptively simple. known as tweets. haiku. once you find interesting people and accounts to follow. and blog publishing software. useful online communications tools yet seen — that is. stories. but they’re including links — in 23 percent of all tweets by one measure — and links carry a lot more information and context. businesses. .com (unless you choose a private account. (We talk more about the different ways to tweet in Chapters 8 and 9. In fact. Consider: “Man Lands On Moon. and to stay in touch with people. Twitter has noticed that it acts like a “pulse of the planet. or by way of the numerous applications that are available for both.com site or your cellphone. following other people’s Twitter streams. your cellphone. Instant messaging also lacks the social network “following” features of Twitter and basic ideas like “publish-subscribe” and one-to-many broadcasting of messages. But. so each message is actually a Web page. each message has its own unique resource locator (URL). through the www. Like instant messaging. Twitter can look like it’s full of noise. But headlines and very short advertising copy are famously hard to do really well — and the right words can be quite powerful. surprisingly powerful new way to exchange ideas and information. your Twitter stream shifts from a cascade of disjointed chatter to one of the most versatile. quotes. Writing 140-character messages seems trivial. if you take the time to learn to use that tool correctly. Twitter is a communications network that combines elements of Short Message Service (SMS or texting). or anywhere with an Internet connection.) On the most basic level. such as Blogger or WordPress. Twitter has one central feature: It lets users instantly post entries of 140 characters or less. right now. you can start to see the significance behind Twitter’s appeal.10 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figuring Out This Twitter Thing Twitter is a fast-evolving. your tweets are generally published to the world at large where anyone can read them on Twitter. Think you can’t say anything meaningful in 140 characters? Think again. you can communicate directly with people (through direct messages). Now that’s pretty interesting! True.
instant messaging. erasing barriers and boundaries all the way. and far-reaching connections into easily digestible facts. . — Twitter. lengthy conversations. You might argue there isn’t really a wrong way to use Twitter. just like you were having a conversation. questions. ideas. Twitter is a great way for you or your company to connect with large numbers of people quickly and personally. At first. Twitter had its real coming-out party at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi) — an annual confab of tech and media innovators in Austin. Shortly after SXSWi 2007. to build a brand. (as long as you mind the terms of service and don’t try to actively do harm) so you get to completely tool it to your own needs. Obvious Corp. Twitter was released to the public. Dorsey was the one who came up with the original concept. they had no idea that it would catch on the way it did. In tech-speak. And because Twitter is so easily customizable and open-ended. Twitter was built in 2006 by three technology entrepreneurs — Evan Williams. But Twitter’s beginnings. Now. and Jack Dorsey. you can more easily think of Twitter as a giant cocktail party with dozens of conversations you can join (or start) at any moment. 140 Characters at a Time 11 In the beginning was the word: The origins of Twitter Twitter connects a wildly diverse array of people from all over the world. you can start to understand what makes Twitter so unique. and the three subsequently built it as an internal tool for Odeo employees. and sound bites. and a whole lot more. Biz Stone. thoughts. to report the news. it has continued to become more and more popular with people and companies. If you’re familiar with blogs. Not only did it win the conference’s Web Award honor. Some of the media hype has called Twitter nothing short of revolutionary. Twitter was spun off once again. to launch and expand careers. were humble. The Web offers a lot of information. concepts. No two people or businesses use Twitter in exactly the same way. becoming its own company separate from Obvious Corp. which specialized in publishing software for podcasting (audio broadcasting over the Web). to connect businesses and reach customers. Or. Texas — in March 2007 when it was about a year old. Already a favorite among Silicon Valley’s geek elite. Twitter is a microblogging or microsharing tool. Twitter can turn those long articles.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts. Inc. but its rapidfire messages became the de facto coordinating and communicating tool for thousands of SXSWi attendees and the company became the digital world’s new darling. and that fact is part of the secret to Twitter’s success. All three were then employed by a San Francisco– based Web company called Odeo. however. A management shakeup led to Twitter and Odeo’s reincorporation under a new company. and shortly thereafter. millions of people use Twitter to keep in touch with family and friends. if you prefer a work metaphor. like so many other digital innovations.. Twitter is like the office water cooler where any number of informal (or formal) conversations can take place. you have to be succinct. and Web-based journals. In other words. when you have only 140 characters.
For more on the social side of Twitter. interests. hints. . you might be compelled to ask. and information. and you have a way of remembering to go back there yourself. many of whom seem like just random strangers. you might tweet about that. December 4. if you’re walking down the street and you notice a new restaurant you want to check out when you have more time. or they may tweet original thoughts. ✓ To stay in touch: Whole families and groups of long-term friends use Twitter to stay in touch. check out Chapter 12. such as at an event or conference. and know. which means that you don’t lose your thoughts when you close your browser (or your desktop application). events. ideas. interactions. Even when this information can get pretty obscure. They may tweet links to great articles or interesting items. in a way that lets you gradually get to know them more over time. or just walking around and may even jog their own memories later about something that happened or what they’ve discovered. They use Twitter at conferences. Connecting to one another on Twitter is a great way to preserve an initial contact. ✓ To share: Some people use Twitter to share what they think. 2008 (http://twitter. You can find news headlines. Twitter can send public or private notes to your friends. and others share choice bits of their inner monologue. Twitter lets millions of people around the world hear what you have to say.12 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? How Individuals Use Twitter Tomorrow I begin the archeological dig that is my desk. People have many reasons for using Twitter: ✓ To connect: Most people start using Twitter to forge connections and be a part of a community. and it stores all sent messages. The idea of Twitter can be a bit confusing for new twitterers (people who use Twitter). and ideas. then it lets you connect with the ones who want to hear from or talk to you about your passions. and tricks. I will Twitter each item as I process it. Twitter seems flooded with disjointed conversations. observations on the weather. political debates. with millions of listeners. read. and requests for advice. ✓ To record: Some people tweet as a way to take notes on life. Now everyone who follows you knows about this interesting-looking place. talking?” At first glance. For example. Others just want to be heard. someone’s bound to find it informative or interesting. “But why are all these people.com/hodgman/status/1039327071) Looking at Twitter for the first time. Some tweet notes from speeches or classes. — Author and comedian John Hodgman via Twitter.
New organizations have also sprung up through Twitter. Some people have started their own donation campaigns on Twitter and encouraged other Twitter users to donate and then tweet about it. and local soup kitchens tweet when they need help. But Twitter isn’t just for charities. Whether it’s Amber Alerts. For example. tens of thousands of Twitter users followed Barack Obama at http://twitter. (You can search for the subjects that interest you on http://search.com. 140 Characters at a Time Twitter is pretty easy to actually use. Twitter can enable organizations operating on a budget to think on their feet.twitter.) John Mayer (@JohnCMayer) live-tweeted from the GRAMMY Awards. (Even Britney Spears has an official Twitter account: @BritneySpears. fan bases. you can find organizations for food and wine lovers. and their daily lives as celebrities. in real time. charitable efforts. it has hundreds of thousands of followers at the time of this writing. During the campaign. Plenty of people in the world want to lend a helping hand. meaning everyone from your 8-year-old cousin to your 92-year-old great-grandma can figure out how to use Twitter and say hello. Whether it’s extra hands for a project. raise awareness. and Twitter’s platform makes it easy. Enthusiasts of just about any interest have banded together on Twitter. or rescuing James Buck from an Egyptian jail (http://twitter. it fits into mobile lifestyles and brings you closer to the everyday thoughts of those you’re interested in.com/ barackobama. Musicians working hard to make a name have used Twitter to engage thriving. Because you can access Twitter by using either a computer or cellphone (or both!). musicians use Twitter to spread the word about concerts.) For example. song releases. Twitter has also been a big help for community efforts.com/jamesbuck/statuses/ 786571964). or some other big idea. too. where campaign staff used the service to provide the thencandidate’s whereabouts on the trail and kick off new donation initiatives. plan. and involved. and reach out beyond their immediate community. far-reaching assistance with a fundraiser. Twitter has shone as a tool for social good. with a global network of connections.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts. fundraisers. (Even though election laws mean the account can no longer be updated. Groups such as churches and local charities can use Twitter to provide an additional way for members to connect. youth group directors tweet about events. searching for kidney donors. Preachers tweet about their planned sermons.) The power of Twitter works for much smaller organizations. 13 How Organizations Use Twitter Barack Obama’s successful presidential campaign in 2008 was perhaps the best example of an organization using Twitter to solicit donations. . sharing recipes and swapping restaurant reviews on Twitter. and call people to action.
exectweets. community groups. If you have a limited quantity of something to sell in a short amount of time. ExecTweets (www. you can’t find a better channel than Twitter to make it known. businesses large and small can use it. Each chapter in this book clearly explains why Twitter has caught on like wildfire and how you can join in the fun (and enjoy the business benefits) of this microsharing service. Dell now has many more accounts: www.com/twitter. But none of these reasons really scratch the surface of why so many people use Twitter. or even a blend of the two. computer manufacturer Dell started a Twitter account (http://twitter. Predictably. ✓ To finely tool a company image. ✓ To poll and pull in feedback. you’ll be glad to know that many professions are comparing notes about the best ways to use Twitter. You can find dozens of industry-specific blog posts and guides on how to use Twitter most effectively. For example. ✓ Even a business with no customers on Twitter can take advantage of five off-platform benefits that we talk about in Chapter 11.com/starbucks). ✓ To answer questions. If you’re not sure where to begin. Coffee retailer Starbucks uses Twitter to connect with customers and spread company culture (http://twitter. ✓ To take advantage of an innovative form of 140-character advertising.com) shines the spotlight on executives who use Twitter. Laura’s Twitter consulting practice. you’ll find that your reasons for tweeting multiply over time while Twitter becomes more and more useful to you.com (http://twitter. Whether you want to use it for mostly personal or mostly business reasons. Pistachio Consulting. too. It announced in December 2008 that its Twitter account has generated over a million dollars in revenue.com/ jetblue).dell.com/featured-articles/industry-guides. So why would a business want to establish a presence on Twitter? ✓ To network with customers and see what they’re saying. started one list of these guides here: http:// pistachioconsulting. put out weather alerts. com/delloutlet) to promote special deals on returned equipment. as does online shoe retailer Zappos. and conduct customer service (http://twitter.14 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Businesses That Use Twitter If individuals. Discount airline JetBlue uses Twitter to advertise fare specials.com/zappos). Early on. . and nonprofit groups can use Twitter (as we discuss in the preceding sections).
. so you don’t need to stick to a rigid set of rules. customize your profile. Twitter is what you make it. You know these Twitter accounts when you see them: The twitterers end up twittering only about what they had for breakfast. Chapter 3 fills you in on the Twitter. December 20. Feel free to tell us what you’re doing. or are stuck with just plain old 140-character writer’s block. . whenever and however you feel like it. turn to Chapter 2 for information on how to sign up. 6 hours today. so you know where everything is. a question appears in large print across the top of the screen: “What’s Happening?” The most basic activity on Twitter is to answer that question. Twitter’s prompt used to be “What are you doing?” As more people were using Twitter. and your answer can spark so many conversations. 2008 (http://twitter. the Twitter prompt has users stuck in a rut. freezing up out of self-consciousness.com interface — it’s sort of a road map of the site. and some then stop using Twitter altogether. To that end. and adjust your settings. Passionate about aardvarks? Send out a few tweets with aardvark facts and see who talks back to you. not necessarily about what they were doing.. Twitter is inherently flexible and open-ended. concerned that they’re not doing it right. 140 Characters at a Time For more on putting Twitter to use for your business. Instead of “What’s Happening?”.com/lancearmstrong/status/1069006436) When you log into Twitter. Have a burning desire to change careers from accounting to roadie for a rock band? Talk about it! You can probably get a response or two. the company realized that many of its users were ignoring the former question and instead reported on things more interesting to them. that they’re leaving the office to go home and watch 24.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts. The beauty of this simple question is that you can answer it in so many different ways. or various other mundane life updates that don’t spark much conversation. — Cyclist Lance Armstrong via Twitter. Many of these Twitter users don’t end up getting involved in the Twitter culture. 15 Getting Your Tweet Wet Having breakfast and getting ready to ride. Sometimes. You can get much more value from Twitter — and have a lot more fun — if you just let yourself relax and talk about what’s on your mind. If you’re brand-new to Twitter and you’re ready to try it out. turn to Chapter 11. In effect.
123 Main St. Fri 9/3 @ 9 pm www. . the system is much less dynamic. more easily. Twitter is open.myband. however. . by default you’re broadcasting your status updates to people you’ve allowed to be your friend and view your profile on Facebook. you’re by default sharing your updates with the world. On Twitter. And because of all of that. they’re letting their followers know you’re the one who originally posted it (and that you’re the one whose band is playing at Blondie’s). To make retweeting even easier. which means the conversation continues to be relevant and visited for as long as people are talking. On Twitter. but might have wanted to meet. Sharing and passing along information is what makes Twitter a sensitive global news detector. until eventually it’s not even seen anymore. Instead. If any of your followers want to spread the word. which means anyone who’s interested in what you’re saying can follow you — and you can choose to follow them back or just ignore them. Facebook is people you’ve known. That RT is shorthand for retweet. are preserved on the profiles of the users who initially shared something. they might tweet. and you can get the word out (fast!) about the things you want to share. What all this means is that your tweets can spread like wildfire. “RT @yourname: MyBand rocks out Blondie’s. a powerful tool for social change or marketing.com for tickets”. and farther messages spread on Twitter. (These replies. Facebook is structured.” — Brightidea. people frequently repeat your tweets for their own followers. LA. and an interesting and dynamic flow of ideas and information. the most recent replies are always at the top of the stream. It’s really striking to see how much faster.com CEO Matthew Greeley (@brightidea) If you’re a regular Facebook user. but that’s not very common. You can protect your Twitter updates so that only people you allow can see them. you can even put something like. It’s commonly called retweeting. and many you might have wanted to forget. The main way in which Twitter differs from Facebook is that with Facebook. Twitter is scattered. On Facebook when people reply to your status update. “MyBand rocks out Blondie’s. Fri 9/3 @ 9 pm www. you might tweet.16 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? How Twitter differs from Facebook “Facebook is closed. Twitter will overtake Facebook and become the backbone of the real-time web. . their replies appear with your update itself. you may be wondering how Twitter is any different from the status updates that are part of Facebook. barring an acquisition or failure to execute . Twitter has a Retweet link right next to the reply link. “Please RT” in the tweet. LA. Twitter is people you never knew. and your followers don’t have to know you. myband.) On Twitter. You don’t have to know the people you follow. 123 Main St. which moves farther and farther down in the feed. If you want to encourage people to retweet something. most people leave their tweets open to the public. and as a result.com for tickets”. Replies work much differently on Facebook. If your band is playing at a club on Friday. and by putting your name after RT.
or summarize a movie in so few words? With time. direct sound bites. Because Twitter’s communication format encourages brief but engaging ideas. because Twitter’s mandated brevity forces you to focus your thoughts into concise. How in the heck are you supposed to say anything in this tiny bit of space? How can you distill your company pitch into 140 characters. and spaces). The open nature of the Twitter API has led some people to come up with very interesting uses for Twitter.Chapter 1: Sharing Your Thoughts. the easier it is to write short. rather than the company — evidence of the playful loyalty that avid users have with the Twitter brand. you find that squeezing thoughts into 140 characters often makes you refine the point in ways you wouldn’t have thought of before. Why call it a tweet? It’s convenient. a tweet is what you call the 140-character message that you send out onto the Web by using Twitter. ask yourself. sharp. you get used to this length restriction. tying into the whole theme of birds chirping. numbers. Some Twitter users have reported becoming better salespeople offline. Twitter sparks conversations faster than almost any other Internet conversation format. or better writers. . tweet is a term coined by the users. Perhaps one of the coolest things about Twitter is that the more you use it. accepting Twitter’s Web Award honor at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in March 2007 Simply put. it wasn’t until late Winter 2010 that Twitter officially adjusted updates to tweets. clear tweets. Twitter limits the length of tweets to 140 characters (letters. As you get more accustomed to tweeting. based on how the world talked about tweeting. “What can’t you do with Twitter?” From its inception. which is the geek-speak term for code that lets external developers and programmers weave the Twitter service and functions into other applications and services on the Web. 140 Characters at a Time 17 Tweeting Like a Pro We’d like to thank you in 140 characters or less. like much of the Twitter vocabulary. In fact. Also. And it is. review a book. don’t ask “What can you do with Twitter?” Instead. Twitter has had a very open application program interface (API). And we just did! — Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. a length that may seem short at first. Branching Out with Third-Party Applications At the risk of sounding like a Twitter cheerleader. symbols.
com/tweetie).). Thousands of tools already exist. go to www. many people do.) Co-founder Jack Dorsey has argued from the start that Twitter is a fitting name for the service. this definition explains why Twitter’s logo is a cartoon bird. a whole lot of Web services have silly names — in an industry peppered with companies that have names such as Meebo and Veoh. Ev. (when Twitter was still owned by Obvious. It’s just like chirping.” In this case. fundraise. the name Twitter reflects the short bursts of “noise” (or tweets) that Twitter users make when they conduct their digital banter. By the time this reaches print.18 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? The most popular Twitter applications are downloadable client programs that let you manage and update your Twitter feed from your desktop. “If you look it up in the dictionary. Inc.com). that’s fine. follow gas prices. it should be the company’s official iPhone Twitter client. On the iPhone. the array of third-party applications offers a nice balance of work and play. it’s actually just [a] short burst of activity. to track expenses. In fact. read the news.com). Some are incredibly useful. you may want to check out all the neat ways you can use it — for example. give hurricane relief to people in need. the founders answered a question about where the name came from. request restaurant reviews. Where the name Twitter comes from We want to get this out of the way: Yes. if you think about it.) .podtech. (We cover these tools in Chapter 9. This diversity of use makes Twitter a vibrant community that you can tap into both for fun and for business. including (about half of average use) Twitter. find out the weather in your area.twhirl.tweetdeck. a company called Twitter doesn’t stand out as having a particularly odd moniker. but people access Twitter dozens of ways. or the all-night gab-fests at junior high sleepovers. (www. like Co-tweet and HootSuite which help you manage multiple accounts and a lot of information. while others help you integrate with other social networks.com. and a whole lot more. like FourSquare or Facebook. atebits. In an early interview with Jack. To watch a video of the interview in its entirety. Twitter is a silly name. Because Twitter can do so much. and it’s something that birds do.net/ home/?s=obvious%2C+twitter. and Tweetie. Tweetie 2 became such a dominant player. But if you want to really maximize your use of Twitter. drive cancer awareness. Twhirl (http://www. acquired the company as of April of 2010. seesmic. and Biz.org/). (Bing and Google are chuckle-worthy too. Seesmic (www. so simply. vying for most popular are TweetDeck (www. Twitter Inc.) The beauty of Twitter means that any application can be beneficial if Twitter users respond to it. If you want to stick with using Twitter just as a status update service. It calls to mind images of birds chirping. Jack said. But to be fair. (If you haven’t made the connection already.
yet powerful conversation platform that enables users to broadcast short messages to the world and to connect more closely with people they care about. With Twitter. using the site is just as easy as signing up. we go over the very basics of Twitter: getting a username. finding people to communicate with. Intrigued about why this simplelooking tool is so well-loved and popular? Then this chapter is the place to get your feet wet. beautifying your profile. It usually takes a while of using Twitter to get what about it could be really interesting and valuable to your life. To sign up for a Twitter account. and getting yourself situated and ready to start tweeting like a pro in no time. Twitter is not only easy to use. signing up is the easiest part of an otherwise complicated process. T Signing Up For many Web services. Twitter World! In This Chapter ▶ Getting your Twitter party started ▶ Coming up with a good Twitter name ▶ Mixing it up: Making friends and saying hi ▶ Standing out with a unique Twitter profile ▶ Getting SMS tweets on your cellphone (or not) witter is a deceptively simple. Use your Web browser to navigate to the Twitter Web site at www. Luckily. In this chapter. but it’s also quick to set up and a piece of cake to get going.com. follow these steps: 1.Chapter 2 Hello. as shown in Figure 2-1. The Twitter splash page appears. twitter. .
The signup page appears. as shown in Figure 2-2. .20 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 2. Click the large green Sign Up Now button. Figure 2-1: The Twitter splash page. Figure 2-2: The very short and simple Twitter signup page.
For more information on this code. or refreshes the page in case you didn’t fill out any of the fields correctly. or you can go to http:// twitter.Chapter 2: Hello. see the “What’s up with the CAPTCHA?” sidebar later in this chapter. This step is a standard Web tactic to prove that you’re a human and not a spam program (see Figure 2-3). We cover how to choose a good Twitter name in the following section. and a unique e-mail address where Twitter can contact you for notifications. Type the CAPTCHA code in the Type the Words Above text box. The only information Twitter requires from you is a username. Click the Create My Account button. 21 Figure 2-3: Are you human? . it’s because you’re trying to sign up with a user account that’s already taken or that you’ve mistyped your e-mail address. if prompted. a password of your choice. 5. you’re agreeing to Twitter’s Terms of Service. Twitter either takes you to a CAPTCHA screen. You see a link at the bottom of the page where you can read those Terms of Service if you like. Twitter World! 3. (You’ll probably take longer to decide on a username than to actually sign up. Those will be indicated with a red marker. Type your desired username and basic information in the appropriate text boxes.) 4.) By clicking the Create My Account button.com/tos to read them. (In most cases.
Figure 2-4: The Twitter GettingStarted Wizard.com and look for the button labeled Already Using Twitter from Your Phone? Click Here. To jump-start your Twitter experience. do not text “join” to 40404 or you will associate your phone number with a separate new account. go to Twitter. Later. (To find out more about using Twitter on your cellphone. You’ll know it when you see it (see Figure 2-4).” later in this chapter.) If you already have a Twitter account. It’s magical! . You’re taken to your newly created Twitter account (see Figure 2-5). check out the section “Adjusting Your Text-Messaging Settings. Just send an SMS text message with the word “join” to 40404 and follow the directions that are texted back to you to choose a username. See instructions on how to set up your phone to work with your existing Twitter account later in the chapter. and to automatically connect with people you know. Did you know you can register for Twitter entirely by text from any cellphone? Get a friend started while you’re away from a computer — you can create a new Twitter account from any cellphone at any time. Follow the on-screen tutorial to find people you know.22 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 6. click on the Next Step button on the bottom of the screen until you get to the main Twitter screen. You will not be able to add your phone to your original account until you remove your number from the new account you inadvertently created. or if you want to get straight to Twitter. you can follow the on-screen wizard. If you’d like. the sign-up process includes a way for you to find people you might want to follow based on category.
If you’re having trouble reading the CAPTCHA. Twitter uses the popular reCAPTCHA tool. but humans can adjust rather quickly.Chapter 2: Hello. Twitter World! 23 Figure 2-5: A Twitter blank slate. which can easily generate another CAPTCHA for you: Just click the Get Two New Words link to get another CAPTCHA. You may find the CAPTCHA a bit tricky to read. . rather than a computer program. please consult your doctor or trusted medical professional. There is an audio version of the CAPTCHA on Twitter. If you can’t read a CAPTCHA after a few tries. you may be a computer. in fact. be non-human. but it really doesn’t seem to work well. you may run into a hard-to-read or ambiguous CAPTCHA. but that’s largely the point. What’s up with the CAPTCHA? A CAPTCHA is a quick check to make sure that an actual person. If you think that you may. is using the Web site. Sometimes. Computers have a hard time reading text that’s distorted in any way. Web applications use CAPTCHA (which stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) as a standard defense against spam and automatically generated user accounts.
you might say. or handle. @Pistachio has. Pistachio!” from across the street or across the room at a party. you may decide to use @doglover1980 as your Twitter name.” That way. if your name is John Ira. long gone. in case they want to follow her. You may also want your username to match your e-mail address — for example. you may want to pick a Twitter username such as @johnira or @john. If you want a quick glimpse at the search engine “optimization” (SEO) value of Twitter. and it has become the way that many people know her. If you can sign up for Twitter by using your name or a variation of it as your username (assuming somebody else isn’t already using it). When we refer to Twitter usernames in this book. That story emphasizes that you should think about how you want to be perceived both on and off Twitter and how your username fits into that perception. like the rest of the social Web. too!) But when you’re actually choosing a username. Crazy. and the underscore character (_). in effect. you can choose a name that’s a bit more generic. Twitter is a far-reaching service. It makes your experience with Twitter much easier when the line between online and offline blurs. the @ isn’t part of it. For example. You can also use a handle that you’ve established on other Web sites. it undoubtedly spills over into real life. if you want to say that you’re reading Laura’s book.com. . Laura’s Twitter name. The only characters you can use are uppercase and lowercase letters. “Reading @Pistachio’s book. (For example. because that’s how you refer to other users on Twitter. and if you get really involved in the culture of Twitter. for many. just run a Google search for the word pistachio and you’ll find her Twitter account is one of the very first search results. such as @handsomejohn or @johntheterrible. She’s met thousands of people in real life after initially connecting with them through Twitter. become her nickname. The days of choosing anonymous handles such as sexybabe44. if your e-mail address is doglover1980@example. like you may have when you used instant-message programs or chat rooms in years past. If users have already claimed those monikers. “Hey. and it’s not unusual for her to hear. is @Pistachio. we recommend doing so. people who follow you on Twitter can easily click over to Laura’s Twitter profile. If you prefer for people not to know who you are. your username is your identity. are.24 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Picking a Name On Twitter. we follow the convention of putting an at sign (@) before the name. try adding an adjective or descriptor.
Businesses should consider using valuable keywords as their Twitter names. But if you do. you leave them less room for message content. . if you run into your Twitter pals at networking events or other real-life social situations. or how close to the top of a search results list you appear in a search engine such as Yahoo! or Google. she now is @Pistachio. so when people are replying to you. Laura first adopted the color as a company name in 1997. not be put off by a risqué or otherwise questionable handle. however. Twitter World! 25 Why @Pistachio? Many people have asked where the username @Pistachio came from. you want to make sure that you don’t mind having your username written on your nametag or shouted out in greeting. go for it – understand. Laura’s first office was painted an unfortunate green color — that precise.) Likewise.Chapter 2: Hello. (If you want to be risqué. choose a username that’s friendly and accessible to the people you want to interact with.) Your Twitter name has power and influence on search engine optimization (SEO). later in this chapter. Be forewarned! If you choose to use your last name only. or your company or product name. you may find that no one can remember your first name. turn to Chapter 5. and over the years it has become part of her identity. Using Twitter for your business? You can use your company or business name as your username. like Michael (@ gruen). Simply. you want people to respond to you. Twitter limits your username to just 15 characters for this very reason. and you can fill in that business name in the Name text box on the Settings page for your account. Massachusetts. be sure to include the names of anyone who handles the company Twitter account in the 160 character “Bio” text box on the Settings page for your Twitter profile.) If you’re looking to be a bit more removed and really would prefer to use a nickname rather than your name. (For more on how to reply to another person on Twitter. Lean toward using a short Twitter username. Thus. if you have a longer name. Remember: Tweets are only 140 characters. indescribably ugly shade of Grandma’s favorite ice cream on summer nights at Friendly’s by the rotary in Gloucester. (We cover how to customize your profile in the “Customizing Your Profile” section. On Twitter. that you’ll limit the other users who will be willing to interact with you.
Yahoo! Mail. be very cautious about sites that ask you for your e-mail address and password. follow these steps: 1. Type your e-mail credentials (username and password) in the Your Email and Email Password text boxes. Finding contacts on Twitter can be a lot of fun! The easiest way to find your friends is to import your friends and contacts from other services that you already use (such as Gmail. Having Twitter automatically find your contacts involves entering your e-mail account password. AOL. . in general. To import contacts and make them part of your Twitter world during the registration process. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many people you know who are already busy tweeting away.26 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Finding Contacts When you first sign up for Twitter. and Hotmail). Although Twitter has established itself as a trustworthy service. 2. Select the e-mail account type from which you want to import on the left-hand side of the screen. you’re prompted to see if your friends are on Twitter (see Figure 2-6). Figure 2-6: See whether your friends are on Twitter by importing your e-mail address book.
If you click the Follow All button. Twitter World! 3. If you skip this step during the registration process. last name. click the Twitter logo on the upper left of the screen.Chapter 2: Hello. When you finish selecting people. 27 Using useful people-finding tools Jumping into random conversations is a great way to find like-minded Twitter users. Select the people you want to follow. It’s a great way for people interested in real-life meet-ups. Click the blue Find Friends button. Twitter looks at your contact list from your e-mail account and gives you a list of all the people from your address book who are already on Twitter. . When you follow people on Twitter.) If you’re not careful about where you click. Repeat these steps for all your other e-mail networks. TwitterLocal (www. but it’s not the only way.twitter local. If you only want to follow some of the people in your address book. as well as those in localized industries (such as real estate and car sales) who use Twitter to drum up business. go ahead and share the Twitter love! 6. if you have them. or e-mail address by clicking the Find People link at the top of any Twitter page. if you didn’t find all the people in your address book that you would have liked to follow. One of the more interesting tools out there. helps you find Twitter users by geographic location. Alternatively. (For more on inviting people to join Twitter. You can use a few tools to discover people on Twitter who share your interests or live near you. see “Inviting Contacts. you can always search for people by first name. However. if you want to invite all your contacts to join you on Twitter.” later in this chapter.net). you see their updates on your Twitter Home screen. everyone in your address book will be automatically followed for you. you can accidentally send an e-mail to everyone in your address book. 5. 4. to contact each other. you can invite them by using the Invite by Email tab along the page navigation. only click the gray Follow button for each person.
To some Twitter users. and giving them time to follow you back before increasing your follower circle. but this approach has some potentially negative consequences. by proving who they are. interact with people in and out of your network. Twellow (www. Users can also claim Twellow profiles for any Twitter usernames that belong to them. and are genuine. you may at first find that you’re following many more people than are following you. your numbers swell on their own just because you’re building a network and interacting with it. so many of the initial people you follow (who don’t personally know you) may not opt to follow you back immediately. It takes time and genuine interaction to build relationships on Twitter. Take a relaxed approach.com) is another handy tool for widening the scope of your Twitter universe (which. You can easily get excited and start following a ton of random people. Companies that tweet should definitely mention it on their own website so that it is clear whether or not their account is authentic. Twitter people!” Twitter landing page that introduces yourself to people you follow or who may want to follow you. Over time.twellow. Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications (@tdefren) has pointed out that it’s a particularly good idea for businesses to use a Twitter landing page to explain how they are using Twitter and offer ways to opt-out of any connections or communications. Claiming lets you edit the entry to add more categories or remove incorrect categories. talking to them. location. If you talk about your passions. Part III explores more of these third-party tools. yes. some call a twitterverse). As a result. and link to that page on your Twitter profile so that it directly welcomes curious new people. . If you have a blog or Web site. an account that’s following 500 people with only 1 or 2 people following it back is a warning sign that it may be a spam account — and you don’t want people to think that you’re a spammer. or category. you’ll have no trouble finding people to follow and getting them to follow you back. similar to an online yellow pages for Twitter (hence the name Twellow). Twellow sorts Twitter users by categories based on keywords found in the Bio sections of their profiles.28 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Everything in moderation: Making sure you don’t follow too many people Be cautious when following new people. and your follower/following ratio is skewed heavily to the following side. following a few people at a time. create a friendly “Hello. Twellow is searchable by name. Twitter users are often interested in meeting and talking with new people and want to hear fresh voices.
which you can access by clicking Search at the bottom of any Twitter page or by going to http://search. The process is really simple: 1. paste or type the e-mail addresses of each person you’d like to follow in the box.) .Chapter 2: Hello. longingly. Summize is still known to many (and affectionately referred to) by its original name. (Michael cried. but also lets you know when people have made new tweets that match your search criteria and gives you the option to refresh the search results page. and Laura’s been caught referring to Summize in her speeches frequently. Twitter allows you to preview that e-mail if you click on the link at the top of this page. after you import your contacts from your e-mail address book.) Inviting Contacts During the registration process. Bonus: Because Twitter Search sorts results based on how recent they are. An invitation to join Twitter will be sent to the people you selected. letting them know that you’re on Twitter and they can follow your updates by signing up for Twitter themselves. You can use Twitter Search to find new people on Twitter by typing keywords connected to your interests or profession in the text box. Although Twitter officially acquired Summize and has since renamed it Twitter Search. On the Find Accounts and Follow Them screen (see Figure 2-7). Click the blue Invite button. over the name change. 2. Twitter Search was originally built by another Web startup called Summize. and Twitter not only brings you results in chronological order (with the most recent at the top). You can enter any keyword of your choice into the Twitter Search text box and click the Search button. which had earned special privilege and access to Twitter’s application program interface (API) to create a search engine for the microsharing service. (If you’re concerned. known as Twitter Search. you have the option to invite any of your contacts who aren’t yet using Twitter. Twitter World! 29 Searching by using Twitter Search Twitter also has its own search engine.twitter.com. the people you discover through this search are likely very active Twitter users.
click the Follow button. 2. click the Find People link. . you can always go back and do it later. On the top navigation bar of any Twitter page. 3. The tabbed navigation loads below the navigation bar. If you’re looking for co-author Michael. 4. Simply click Find People in the toolbar at the top of your Twitter profile to make the input screen for e-mail invitations appear. like first names. as shown in Figure 2-8. After you enter all the addresses you want. Click Find on Twitter. The Follow button is a small. you might just try searching for “Gruen” as some people elect to omit some personal information.30 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 2-7: Ask your friends to join the party! If you haven’t found friends who you know are on Twitter. A text box appears. Enter the name or screen name of the person or company you’re looking for. gray square with a silhouette and a plus button on it. you can search for them by hand by using the Find on Twitter button. If you choose not to do this now. 1.
you can always e-mail people you know whom you think would most enjoy or benefit from Twitter. When you’re done. as well. Type a message in the text box directly below What’s Happening?. keeping under the 140-character limit. Say Hello! Your First Tweets The entire premise of Twitter is to answer the question “What’s happening?” in 140 characters or less. It’s become commonplace for many Twitter users to put Twitter handles on business cards and in e-mail signature lines. Twitter World! 31 Figure 2-8: Follow people by searching for them.Chapter 2: Hello. The more people who join you on Twitter. These actions are indirect invitations for the people who meet us in real life or interact with us in business to connect with us on Twitter. So. sending them a link to your Twitter profile and writing a note explaining what Twitter is. the more effective your network becomes. Congratulations! You’ve just made your first tweet. click Update. . If you don’t opt to invite people during the registration process. Many people choose this approach when they first join Twitter so that they can keep the invitation process personal. or you want to invite people down the road. go ahead! Tell Twitter what’s happening.
such as. If you don’t have any followers yet. This situation isn’t life or death. We discuss suggested Twitter etiquette. After you sign up for Twitter. is other Twitter users’ first impression of you. I’m reading Twitter For Dummies!”. but be careful. also known as your profile. Twitterers following you or searching for keywords in Twitter. your mechanic and how she fixed your car’s catalytic converter. they’ll come. Tweeting is that simple. “Trying out this Twitter thing” or “Hello there. culture. If your updates are unprotected. (Chapter 9 discusses search tools in depth. and on Google. don’t worry. While you start to add more and more tweets. and all that stuff in Chapter 7. they probably respond to you pretty quickly. sometimes even if you delete it almost immediately. “Wait. that’s it?” That’s right: that’s it. there’s something more interesting going on.32 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? If you’re thinking. Though your first tweet was probably something mundane. and it can make a big difference in whether they decide to follow you. The conversation starts with those simple exchanges: Talk about your favorite band’s new album. or really anything at all. one of the first things you should do is personalize your profile. Twitter. Take a few minutes to dress it up a little! Making sure that it reflects you or your business makes all the difference when it comes to whether people stick around to see what you have to say. Make sure that you have ✓ An avatar (a picture that shows up to the left of your tweets. even if you delete them immediately after hitting Update. right now. This chapter simply tells you how to get your Twitter profile up and running so that it reflects who you are and what you want to get out of Twitter. what you tweet ends up in Twitter Search and on Bing. If you’ve already found your contacts on Twitter. are publicly visible and searchable. language. people can begin to see what’s going on in your life and what you’re thinking about. start talking to you about what you’re doing. representing you or your company) ✓ A background image or background color for your Home screen ✓ A bio that’s 160 characters or less ✓ A link to anything else you want to share . Your tweets. in all likelihood.) Customizing Your Profile Your public page on Twitter.
. With the picture file open and visible on the screen. The Run dialog box appears. press Ô+Shift+4. but people on Twitter want to know something about you. Type mspaint at the prompt and click OK. dark blue box appears directly outside the bottom-right of the image. a new file (usually titled something such as Picture 1) appears. Click outside the selection rectangle to deselect the screenshot. Press Ctrl+V.jpg. Twitter World! 33 Editing photos for your Twitter avatar Many of the photos that you want to use for your Twitter avatar may include other people. Choose File➪Save As. By default. MSPaint opens. Your cursor changes into a crosshair. Save the file as a . Thankfully. On a Windows computer. 9. 10. press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. or your digital camera and open the picture. both Macs and PCs have tools available so that you can quickly put together an avatar without needing third-party photo-editing software. the Move tool in Paint is selected. and save it in a place where you can find it later. Scroll to the bottom-right corner of the image. follow these steps: 1. or .gif. A screenshot is pasted into MSPaint. You’re ready to go! Some of the best profile pages on Twitter are the ones that give you a look into that user’s personality. 4. Stop where you want to mark the bottomright corner of the image. If you use Mac OS X. the Web. You don’t have to bare your soul. . Or the picture composition may not allow you to get a good head shot. 2. Someone who loves to ski might upload an image of his favorite mountain range as the profile background and pair it with an avatar that depicts him in ski goggles.Chapter 2: Hello. 8. follow these steps: 1. As an added bonus. A small. ready for uploading. 6. The Save As dialog box appears.png. 2. 5. With the picture file open and visible on the screen. Click and drag that tiny blue box toward the upper-left. give it an appropriate name (such as twitteravatar). Start by finding a picture on your hard drive. 7. and the public page is where they can first discover it. and then let go. these tricks show you how to take screenshots (pictures of what appears on your screen). 3. This button may read PRNTSCR or a similar abbreviation. On your desktop. Click and drag your cursor over the area that you want to include in your profile picture. Press Windows+R. Drag the screen shot up and to the left to mark the upper-left corner of the picture you want as your avatar.
some users leave their avatars the same all the time. follow these steps: 1. Sign in to Twitter and click Settings in the top-right menu bar. 3. Your picture is uploaded to Twitter. Twitter supports the . and Twitter crops it automatically into a square for your public profile.png file formats. don’t panic! Just find a new picture (or adjust the original file) and try uploading it again. Some Twitter users change their avatars almost daily to different photos of themselves. or the default glowing bird silhouette. Choose an image that’s square or close to square. Show your smiling face and set others at ease! To change your avatar. . Your avatar is your face. Click the Save button. If you upload a photo and it doesn’t look quite right. and still others change their avatars according to a specific occasion — holiday-themed photos for Christmas or Halloween.34 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? After you log into Twitter. or make sure that the part of the image you want featured in your avatar’s thumbnail version is in the center of the image. for example. Click the Profile tab (see Figure 2-9). Otherwise. The Settings page opens. Twitter stretches the picture out. you can customize your profile at any time by clicking Settings in the top-right navigation bar. some other picture. You can upload a new picture at any time.jpg. causing some distortion. so it’s your official face on Twitter. Click the Browse button and navigate to the picture that you want to upload.gif. It’s your choice. Changing your avatar Your avatar is displayed to the left of all your tweets. 4. The size of your profile image is restricted to 700 kilobytes (which is a rather large image). Try to find a picture that’s at least 73 x 73 pixels. People don’t like following back if your avatar is just the default. . and . Currently. 2.
click the Change . You can even upload an image of your choice (or do both!). instead of using the default bird. but instead want to use a background image or pattern from your computer.Chapter 2: Hello. Select a pre-made background or use your own image or pattern. 2. Twitter World! 35 Figure 2-9: Smile for your Twitter avatar photo. The Settings page opens. you can change the background of your profile page from the default blue to another color. Sign in to Twitter and click Settings in the top-right menu bar. or choose a smaller image that doesn’t cover the entire background (and leaves a solid color behind it). You can tile an image (make it repeat. like tiles on a floor). Changing your background In addition to changing your avatar. 3. make an image large enough to cover the entire background. To change your background by using Twitter’s tools. If you don’t want a standard Twitter look. follow these steps: 1. Select the Design tab. The pre-made Twitter backgrounds appear in square thumbnail images inside the Design tab.
If you’re using Twitter for business purposes. 8. If the default themes or images don’t appeal to you. you can hunt online for interesting background images on your own and upload them yourself. Figure 2-10 shows an example of JetBlue’s Twitter background. 4. upload a file by clicking the Browse button and finding your image on your computer. click Save. or if you’re looking for something simpler or more casual. click Save Changes. click the Change Design Colors link. Your background image is almost always overlaid with your Twitter stream. When you’re happy with your color scheme. If you can access the hexadecimal codes on your blog’s color scheme. click Save Changes to update your colors.adobe. 5. Then. all of which are sized specifically to fit Twitter profiles. 000000 is black. you can find free background images at sites such as TwitterPatterns (www. . Check out Adobe’s Kuler (http://kuler. each combination of numbers and letters corresponds to a different shade. click the Tile Background option. Their screen width dictates how much of your background they’ll actually see. If you mess up before you save your changes. After you finish. You may want to make your Twitter page match the color scheme of your blog or Web site.twitterpatterns. TwitterPatterns offers a variety of pattern graphics to choose from. Click each of the color swatch squares that you want to change. A note above each square tells you what part of the text or design is affected. you can enter those same hexadecimal codes in the appropriate boxes. com) if you’re looking for a nice color palette.com). 7. Hexadecimal codes are the six-digit codes used in Web site design to assign colors. (Optional) To customize your text and links. and FFFFFF is white. you can always hit Cancel or navigate away to retain your current color settings. If you’re feeling adventurous. Plenty of places on the Web offer easy-to-understand guides to hexadecimal color codes. Just make sure that they’re the right shape and size. so people usually won’t be able to see the middle of the image. use your background to reflect your company’s identity — tiling your logo as the background. For example. 6. If you want only to change your image.36 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Background Image link below the pattern images. (Optional) If you want your image to tile. for example.
Twitter World! 37 Figure 2-10: A customized corporate background. a Twitter user includes a short professional biography. Using your background image to expand your profile Because Twitter’s user profiles are so limited.twitbacks. don’t worry! Several sites generate free Twitter templates that are designed just for Twitter neophytes in your situation.Chapter 2: Hello.com). but it’s a fast and easy way to create a template for yourself or your company if you’re pressed for time. some avid Twitter users take advantage of the background image to add more information or personal links than Twitter allows for in its short Bio section. you need to use a custom template application or create your own template from scratch by using a program such as Photoshop or a free image editor such as Gimp or Seashore.com/2008/07/02/twitter-profilecustomization-photoshop-template). You need Photoshop on your computer to open the file. One of these sites is TwitBacks (www. you can grab a template from BoinBlog (http://boinblog. In many cases. If customizing your own background image from scratch isn’t your speed. . To customize your background image. which offers you a fill-in-the-blanks form to create your own Twitter background. accompanied by more links and ways to connect with that user (see Figure 2-11). This idea is a great way to let people know where else they can find you. You can also use Microsoft’s PowerPoint. Alternatively.
Adjusting Your Text-Messaging Settings By using Twitter cellphone notifications. You can interact with Twitter on your cellphone via Short Message Service (SMS) text messages. 2. on a mobile Web site. your spouse. you can keep tabs on your friends. or by using a client application on your smartphone. though. Some users. Before you can do anything with your new Twitter account on your cellphone. it’s pretty easy to do. Like most things about Twitter. The Settings page opens. . as well.38 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 2-11: @Leslie’s extended profile information contained in a background image. follow these steps: 1. or someone who randomly says the funniest things. Select the Mobile tab. are more inventive: They use this feature to keep tabs on their current client roster to try to gauge those clients’ happiness levels before calling them for project updates. To associate your cellphone with Twitter. you have to associate your mobile device with Twitter. Sign in to Twitter and click the Settings link in the top-right menu bar of your Twitter home page. though. You can opt for tweet notification from your network in several ways.
Chapter 2: Hello. others swear by them. just turn them off. you may find all those tweets a bit noisy. The Settings page opens. use the Web site to add your phone. click the Phone radio button. (To find out how to turn on cellphone notifications. . receiving text-message updates from all your new Twitter friends is fun. which (in our opinion) is a very underrated feature. see the preceding section. you end up with two accounts that aren’t connected to each other. We give you more details on what you can adjust. You always have a choice. If you find the notifications overwhelming or need to stop them for a while. To change this. 39 Controlling the text-message flow If your account has text-messaging device updates set to On. But if you’ve already signed up at the Web site.) At first. But when your network grows. Basically. Twitter World! 3. under Device Updates. quiet time can ensure that your phone doesn’t wake you up in the middle of the night when tweets come in from the other side of the world. You can turn on cellphone notifications even more easily if you sign up for Twitter by texting a message to 40404. Enter your cellphone number in the text box and select the check box below it to confirm that you allow Twitter to send messages to your phone. On the right side of your Twitter home page. to say the least — not to mention the fact that your cellphone plan may charge you for each text message you receive. Click the Settings link on the top navigation bar. which we talk about in the following section. and how to do it. click Save. follow these steps: 1. To set up quiet time. 5. you receive a text message each time someone in your network sends a tweet. Part of the beauty of Twitter is the many different ways that you can access it. Plenty of avid users of Twitter never even receive SMS updates. If you sign up both on the Web site and by using your phone. Send the code to 40404 from your cellphone. 4. in Chapter 4 and Chapter 7. You can also set quiet time. A screen appears giving you a code that you need to text to 40404 (brief instructions are provided). look at Settings and then the section called Mobile.
you’ll see the word Following. what your better half is up to. Go to your friend’s page who you want to change the mobile tweet delivery option. select the times between which you don’t want text messages to come into your phone. To turn off device notifications for some of the people you’re following. click on it! You’ll now receive that person’s tweets on your phone. Selecting your text notifications. 3. Twitter lets you receive texts only from users of your choice so that your phone isn’t vibrating and beeping all day. or keep tabs on your grandkids. 4. (You might. Know where your boss is at all times. you probably don’t want to receive text-message tweets from all of them.40 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 2. . make sure that circle is colored green. For example. Michael’s grandfather is on Twitter (@rdgruen) and elects to receive all of Michael’s tweets on his iPhone. Select the check box labeled Turn Off Updates During These Hours. Click Save. 2. person by person If you start following hundreds of people. In the drop-down menus directly below the check box. 5. Below the person’s avatar and name. If it isn’t. follow these steps: 1. You can use the mobile tweet delivery for VIP notifications of the people in your life. 3. much to Michael’s chagrin. If you’d like that person’s tweets to be forwarded to your mobile phone. followed by a small mobile phone icon in a circle. we don’t!) Thankfully. Select the Mobile tab.
Chapter 3 Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface In This Chapter ▶ Reading the feed on your Twitter Home screen ▶ Making a Twitter conversation personal by using @replies and direct messages ▶ Marking your Twitter favorites ▶ Viewing who you’re following and who’s following you ▶ Reviewing your past Twitter updates or the power it wields. F Starting Out on the Home Screen When you first log into Twitter.” later in this chapter. we dive down into each Twitter page view. the Home screen is your first stop. (For more on using @replies and DMs. which are tweets in response to individual users. which are private. On the Home screen. one-to-one tweets. In this chapter. The interface makes interacting with other people — some you already know and others you’ll meet — incredibly easy. After you set up your account. most elegant Web sites for mass communication. and direct messages (DMs). you can also see who’s talking to you directly through @replies. we think. see the sections “Tweeting to One Specific Person: @Replies” and “Shhh! Sending Private Notes via Direct Messages. and it cleanly organizes a lot of information. Twitter is one of the simplest and. you may want to know where to locate things quickly and manage your communication flow more intelligently. showing how it relates to the conversations going on around you and the conversations you’re having directly. you go to this screen to touch base with your followers and the people you’re following. As you use Twitter more and more.) .
✓ Profile: Your Profile page. Those links’ names describe where they take you: ✓ Home: Your Home screen. (Chapter 2 covers most of these setup features. ✓ Help: FAQs and support. shown in Figure 3-1. toggle your SMS notifications. ✓ Sign Out: Exactly what you think it is — signing out of your Twitter account. ✓ Settings: Where you can configure your Twitter account (see Chapter 2). the controls along the top of the Home screen let you change your settings.) The Home screen. upload your avatar. has a standard layout. Figure 3-1: The Twitter Home screen. and more. which appears on all Twitter pages. The header has a Twitter logo on the left and a list of links on the right. Clicking on the Twitter logo at left also takes you to your Home screen. update your profile background. ✓ Find People: The people search tool. . where you’ll spend a lot of time.42 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Additionally.
the Profile link. or any @username link for your name to see your Profile page. It’s both a reference for what you’re looking at in the main content area and a controller for the Web site.com screens (Home. When you’re logged in to Twitter and on your Home screen. For up-to-date information about what’s going on with Twitter. so if you can’t find something immediately. visit the company’s blog (http://blog. Except where noted. the world according to twitterers) at any given moment.” later in this chapter. Saved Searches becomes the first of these sections. @pistachio) For more on using favorites. and underneath it you will find your Direct Messages. (We cover lists in depth in Chapter 7.com). family.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface Twitter is a living Web application. or Bio appear only on your Profile page. this description applies to the sidebar on your Home screen: ✓ Your information: Your avatar picture and username. ✓ Your Lists: Lists are timelines you build that consist of friends. Its interface changes from time to time. see the section “Playing (Twitter) Favorites. Replies) is called the sidebar. The Trending Topics view is a surprisingly powerful peek at what is going on in the world (at least. the number of updates you’ve posted. tools. 43 The sidebar The area on the right side of most Twitter. After you create some lists. twitter. ✓ Your stats: Your following and follower counts. Click your avatar. ✓ Your communications: @username is a link to your mentions (all the tweets posted by other people that either mention you or are replies to you). coworkers. and Favorites. it’s likely taken on a different name or moved to a different location on the interface. Profile. and the lists you’re on (we’ll get into that momentarily) followed by a box that displays definitions of various Twitter related words. Your Name. Here’s a breakdown of what’s on the sidebar. (@username will be your username: for example. sports teams. . followed by several sections that you can expand to a bigger view or shrink down to a single line by clicking a down or side arrow in a small circle to the right of each heading. you can quickly access them right from that sidebar area at anytime you’re logged-in to Twitter. Web. ✓ Your searches: Next is the Search text box. and it’s configured a little differently in each view. and services. Location. and other interests.) ✓ Trending Topics: Trending Topics shows you the most commonly tweeted words and hashtags at any given time. you’ll see only your avatar and username. As soon as you save a search to refer to it later.
. the number turns red. and Following Boxes can be shown and hidden with the small triangles to the right of the words signifying the start of each section. . such as @JamesBuck’s “Arrested” at http://twitter. that number decreases. you can go online and view famous tweets you may have heard about.” at http://twitter. Go ahead and give it a try! The “What’s Happening?” box Directly atop the wide left column. If you replied to anyone or included a link in your tweet.) You’ve probably noticed a light-gray 140 sitting on top of the upper-right portion of the update box. so be succinct! As soon as you type a new tweet and click the Update button. huh? This seemingly subtle fact is a big part of what makes conversations on Twitter different. replied to. you might notice that it was shortened and an ellipsis (. Additionally. If your last tweet was on the long side. Trending Topics. Right now. the number turns burgundy. (We go over how to update without using Twitter’s update box in Chapter 8. If it was abbreviated. letting you know how many more characters you can type before you go over the limit. linked to. While you type in your message. .) is at the end of your tweet. When you get to 19 characters remaining. .com/ jkrums/status/1121915133. you find a box in which you can post your latest update (or tweet). your tweet appears in the area directly below the “What’s Happening?” box and in the Twitter feed below that. and archived. you can now click that link. the number starts counting into the negatives. Unlike IM or a chat room. If you can’t click the Update button. Cool.44 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? ✓ Following: Following is the last section on the sidebar. The Twitter Lists. and it shows a grid of the avatar photos of those you follow (or a random sampling of them if you follow more than it can display). Click that link and a page dedicated to that tweet — and that tweet alone — opens. you’ll become very well acquainted with that box. you can click that ellipsis to see your full tweet. every single tweet can be uniquely bookmarked. and when you get to 9 characters remaining.com/jamesbuck/statuses/786571964 or @JanisKrum’s “There’s a plane in the Hudson . if you go over 140 characters. If you continually use Twitter’s Web interface to post updates. . you’ve likely gone over the limit. the timestamp saying how long ago you posted that update in fact contains that update’s permalink. ✓ Your community: A grid that shows a number of avatars from the roster of other Twitter users you follow.
Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 45 The Twitter stream All the action on Twitter. This stream of Twitter updates doesn’t have an official Twittersanctioned name. it’s your home base for connecting with people and businesses on Twitter. or sometimes feed (not to be confused with RSS feeds. if it’s your tweet. Some people who follow thousands of Twitter users call it a river — the tweet stream flows faster the more people you add to your list of friends and the more people you follow. you can find new people to listen to (friends of your friends and connections) and a place to jump in and participate. and you have to wait to delete a tweet — all the more reason to make sure that you don’t tweet anything you don’t mean to tweet!) ✓ Retweet: You can forward the tweet you’re reading to your Twitter followers by clicking the retweet button. a Star and a Trash Can icon) pop up on the right side of the tweet. When you mark something as a favorite. These icons act like function buttons: ✓ Star: Clicking the star button adds that tweet to your Favorites list (which you can get to by clicking Favorites on the sidebar). described later in the book. You have to “RT” that tweet the old-fashioned way. a Star and an Arrow icon (or. (Note that if the tweet came from a user who protects his or her updates. ✓ Trash Can / Delete: This icon appears next to only your own tweets. with the most recent tweets at the top. Each tweet appears in its own little rectangular box. (Note: If you’re not seeing a Trash Can icon next to your own tweet. lives front and center on your screen. Occasionally. Your twitter followers see that tweet as coming from the user who first said it. timeline. The stream only “flows” when you refresh your Web browser — it doesn’t automatically display new tweets. this feature will be unavailable. If you hover your cursor over the box. ✓ Arrow: Clicking the arrow sets up the tweet entry field so that you can reply to that user with an @reply. It contains your tweets and the tweets of those you follow in a chronological order. This is where the conversations happen. odds are Twitter is working on something. along with a note along the bottom of the tweet mentioning that the retweet came from you. Words like stream and flow most likely derive from the more dynamic moving displays on many third-party Twitter clients. Not surprisingly. This update stream goes by several names including stream. appropriately. By reading your stream.) . clicking it lets you delete the tweet from the feed. which you can read about in Chapters 4 and 8). the Trash Can icon disappears. you make it easier for yourself to find that tweet in the future.
For every publicly-viewable tweet that includes a user’s handle. although public and visible to all Twitter users. especially when you’re responding to people who are frequent Twitter users and may have already put out more tweets since the one you’re replying to — it lets them see specifically what you’re responding to. (See Chapter 5 for more on replying. If you hover your cursor over the tweet that you want to respond to. and the Tweet button becomes. the Arrow icon appears. a Reply button. effectively. You can send an @reply to someone by just typing the @ symbol and. which you can then click to reply to that tweet. that user can view those tweets in the @replies link.46 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Tweeting to One Specific Person: @Replies The little Arrow icon on the Home screen that appears when you hover your mouse over a Tweet is the force behind one of Twitter’s most powerful conversational features: @replies. is directed specifically to one Twitter user. his or her username (for example. More than just a way to direct a tweet to one person. Even though the page is now considered the Mentions page. So. without a space. Some heavy users don’t like this setup because it can get cluttered fast if you’re lucky enough to get mentioned a lot. Twitter has ramped it up by automatically detecting when an @ symbol is placed directly in front of a word (with no space in between) and adds a link to the Twitter user who has that word as his or her handle. Clicking the Arrow icon makes the user’s Twitter handle appear in the “What’s Happening?” window. This In Reply To link is helpful. @replies is a tweet that. it gets collected here. @leslie). which you can open by clicking the @username link (with your own username) in the sidebar: ✓ Send @replies anytime.) . so we use that here. Taking its format from a syntax used in text chat rooms. Then type your message and click Update. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your Twitter Mentions page (like the one shown in Figure 3-2). anytime your @username appears in a tweet. The person can see what tweet prompted your reply by clicking the In Reply To link at the bottom of your tweet to him or her. most Twitterers still call them @-replies or @-mentions. Twitter then associates your reply with the original tweet in the Twitter system. @replies can also help you find new people to add to your network when you see one of your contacts conversing with someone you don’t know and decide to check that person out. and the words “What’s Happening?” change to “Reply to” followed by the username of the person you’re replying to.
your reply won’t be linked to any particular tweet. . it’s interesting to note that the preceding settings apply only to tweets that begin with an @username. If you just do your reply manually (as opposed to clicking the Reply icon on a specific tweet that you want to reply to). where your ego can get a boost — or not. This may be exactly the case — @replies actually do initiate a conversation as much as they act as actual replies. Some more conservative Twitter users prefer not to read @replies that don’t concern them. ✓ Read (or don’t read) other people’s @replies. Because of the recent shift to collecting mentions on the @username tab. In the Notices tab on the Settings page. But if you really want to reply to a specific tweet.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 47 Figure 3-2: The @ mentions screen. not those where the @username appears anywhere else in the tweet. you can opt to • Not display any @replies • Display only @replies directed at other Twitter users in your network • View all @replies from your contacts If you don’t really care which @replies you see. you’re usually better off clicking the Reply icon. try the last option: Seeing what your friends and followers are talking about with other Twitter users can help you get more value out of the service and is one of the very best ways to discover new people to add to your network by jumping into conversations.
which is designed to prevent spamming and other unwanted messages by ensuring that people get direct messages only from people they actually want to follow. Unlike regular tweets and @replies. you bring new people into your own stream. he does not follow you. You just have to click the Twitter handle that your friend is @replying to and throw in your two cents. and you can’t DM him. the direct message (which we talk about in the following section). However. .com (http://twitter. If you see that one friend or colleague on Twitter has responded to someone in his or her network who wants to know where to get the best pizza in Boston. all of your followers would see that reply in their tweet streams. You can get to the Profile page by either clicking that person’s @username anywhere that you see it or by typing the username into the URL bar on your Web browser after Twitter. use another feature of Twitter. which you may be used to. Twitter does this to protect against disjointed conversations so some of the more vocal and @replying twitterers don’t overly flood their follower’s feeds. By starting conversations with friends of your friends. Keep in mind that @replies are public tweets. you can share it. anytime you sent an @reply to someone. Just like regular tweets and @replies. and you have a recommendation. she would see that reply in her stream. they’re limited to 140 characters. other people can always read your @replies. Look for the Message link in the right sidebar under Actions. If the only action visible is to block the person. However. The easiest way to see whether someone is following you and to send them a direct message while you’re there is to simply go to that person’s Profile page. if Christy did follow Bill. and they’ll be stored by search engines. So. that reply won’t show up in Christy’s feed.com/ username). unlike text that you send in an instant message program. Then follow these steps: 1. If you send an @reply to Bill. Shhh! Sending Private Notes via Direct Messages Direct messages (DMs) let you send your contacts private notes through Twitter. Twitter adjusted the way that @replies work: Say you are following Bill and Christy. some time ago. If you have something private that you need to tell someone.48 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? ✓ Join a conversation. but Christy isn’t following Bill. In Twitter’s early days. the only person who can see a DM is the recipient. You can send a DM only to a Twitter user who’s following you (but you don’t have to be following that user).
. You can also send a DM using the main Direct Messages interface: 1. you can find a drop-down menu from which you select the recipient of your DM. Compose your direct message in this box and then click Send.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 2. Write and send your message. The Direct Messages page opens (as shown in Figure 3-3). 3. That menu lists only the Twitter users who are following you and hence can receive DMs from you. 49 Figure 3-3: The Direct Messages panel. If you’re not on the Direct Messages page on Twitter. which shows all the direct messages you’ve received over the course of your time using Twitter • The Sent tab. displaying • The Inbox tab. The screen changes to a single text box over the user’s Twitter background that is labeled Send Username a Message. which lets you have private Twitter conversations. Click the Message link. which shows you all the DMs that you’ve sent • A tweet input box that’s specifically for DMs Above the text field. click the Direct Messages tab on the sidebar of any Twitter page.
It’s just not true. When you mark a tweet as a favorite. ✓ Remember it so that you can reference it in a blog post or article. The Direct Message interface can even mistakenly return an error message saying that a given person doesn’t follow you. You can send DMs from any regular Twitter input source — text messages. or the main Twitter interface — by entering d [username] and then typing your tweet. ✓ Mark it so that you can reply to it later. It’s basically Twitter’s equivalent of a bookmarking tool. your drop-down menu doesn’t contain every single follower’s name. you format the DM as d dummies When’s the next edition coming out? Sending DMs is easy. it appears on your Favorites page (see Figure 3-4). ✓ Save it to quote later. The only reliable way to see whether someone follows you back or not is to visit that person’s Profile page. you may assume that it’s because the person no longer follows you. (These steps are described in the preceding list. ✓ Acknowledge that it helped you or that you found it amusing. 4. which is ironic because she goes really far out of her way (following everyone back) to make sure that any reader can send her a DM. The only problem is that when a name doesn’t appear in your Direct Message drop-down list. Select a name from the drop-down menu. just to be sure.50 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 2. the list now appears to show you the list of people you’ve most recently been DMing with. Playing (Twitter) Favorites One of the icons that appear when you hover your mouse over a particular tweet is the Favorites star. Type a message in the Send a Direct Message box.) Laura has actually had people get sort of mad at her about this. . and twitterers often overlook it. Click Send to send the message. After recent Twitter changes. Double-check. which is a great solution. 3. You may want to mark a tweet as a favorite to: ✓ Save it for later. Note: If a lot of people follow you. if you want to send a direct message to our Dummies account (@dummies) to ask when the next edition of Twitter For Dummies is coming out. but proceed with caution! Many Twitter users have embarrassing tales of DMs that they accidentally sent as public tweets because they formatted the tweet incorrectly or sent it from the Twitter Home screen instead of from the user’s Profile page (best bet) or the Direct Messages page. third-party apps. For example.
One way to find more people on Twitter is to visit the Profile pages of your friends on Twitter and look at their Favorites.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 51 Figure 3-4: Your favorite tweets are stored forever. to see which tweets they liked the most. You can also use it for bookmarking links so that you can visit it later — many of your best links and referrals will come from your fellow Twitter users. you may want to start following that person. Our point is. If your best friend marked a particular tweet as a favorite. Ari Herzog (@ariherzog) pointed out that favorites are an untapped opportunity to collect testimonials and other tweets that might have value for your company. you’ll soon have a large collection of tweets that you can gather data from for various projects or reference when you need to remember a particular joke or comment. Innovation software company Brightidea (@brightidea) uses it to curate a great collection of tweets about innovation. drawing upon Twitter search results for keywords related to innovation. . Use Favorites whichever way works best for you! If you start using the Favorites icon on a regular basis. don’t limit yourself to using Favorites only as literal favorites. and you’re not yet following the person who posted that tweet.
3. and that it became ever more so during the meteoric growth leading up to our publication deadline. Indexing your favorite tweets takes a bit of hacking: 1. for old time’s sake. you can then find them whenever you need them.delicious. tag the link so that you can search by topic later to find it again.com). Follow the directions that your bookmarking service offers for how to add a URL. If the option is available.com/#search?q=Search — thanks @krystyna81 for this tip!) So although the true Public Timeline is gone. we left this section in the book for you to play with and think about. which contained all tweets from all twitterers everywhere. using bookmarking services such as Delicious (www. Add that URL to your favorite bookmarking service. To get to a tweet’s permalink. Some people use a spreadsheet in a desktop program such as Microsoft Excel or a Webbased one such as Google Docs. you can peek at the Public Timeline in two ways. That link loads the tweet on its very own page. As we go to press. After you have a system in place for keeping track of tweets that you want to save by using the favorite feature. Some keep a record of their favorite tweets’ permalinks (permanent link URL) pages and tag them by topic. you may want to find some way to catalog your tweets. The original link (http:// twitter. . Becoming a Renaissance Man via the Everyone Tab (RIP) The Everyone tab used to lead to Twitter’s Public Timeline. Twitter doesn’t yet offer a way to search within your list of favorite tweets and hasn’t announced any plans to do so. While your list grows. find the tweet in your Twitter stream and click the small link below it that shows the time the tweet was sent.diigo. 2. neither of which appears anywhere in Twitter’s interface.com/public_timeline) still works for now. Rumor has it that you can also still access the timeline by running a search with no terms in the search box (http://twitter.com) or Diigo (www. which you can bookmark for later because that page has a standard Web URL that always leads to that specific tweet.52 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Searching favorite tweets At the time we write this book. It’s no big surprise that the Public Timeline was always pretty crowded and random.
You can use the timeline to broaden your network. but with more content to discover. you can follow someone without replying to them — follow whoever looks interesting to you! You can check in on the Public Timeline periodically. Or. You can also send an @reply to the tweet. even if you don’t yet follow any of the people in it. if you like what you see. which keeps their Twitter experience the most varied and interesting it can be. which lets you just jump into the conversation. If you can get to the Public Timeline through the preceding links. even after you start to grow your network into the triple digits and higher. 53 Figure 3-5: Looking at the Everyone timeline on Twitter.) If you find an interesting person or conversation. (Refresh your Web browser to see the latest tweets. It looks a lot like your own Twitter stream on your Home screen. people you don’t follow. and people who don’t follow you.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface The timeline includes all Twitter users who haven’t opted to protect their updates: people you follow. spend a little time either scrolling from page to page and tweet to tweet manually or skimming for interesting conversations. in real time (like the page shown in Figure 3-5). it shows the most recent tweets from everyone who uses Twitter. just click that Twitter handle to find out more about that user. After you get to the Everyone timeline. and generally expanding your presence on Twitter. Even people who have thousands in their personal Twitter network can find fresh ideas and interesting people on the Public Timeline once in a while. . finding new conversations and topics.
Click Following. To see whom you follow: 1. Twitter!) — finding out if you follow someone specifically can become tedious after you start following more than 100 people. Followers. Figure 3-6: Check out the twitterers whom you’re following. you’ll see “Following. 3. you find the sets of numbers in the upper-right sidebar labeled Following. you’ll see a Follow button. Currently. A list of people you’re following appears (as shown in Figure 3-6).” If you’re not following him. Scroll through the list manually. which you can click to follow him. Twitter sorts your Following list chronologically by when you started following them. under his avatar. Without a way to sort or search — which Twitter still doesn’t have (hint.54 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Seeing Who You Follow After you start using Twitter to its full potential. This process works fine until you start to follow many more people. . On any page in Twitter. hint. Log in to Twitter. page by page. 2. If you have a particular user in mind and you’re not sure if you’re following him. go that person’s Twitter page. you may want to see a list of whom you follow. and Updates. If you’re following him. with the most recent at the top.
which we cover in Chapter 9.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface For a more consolidated view of your users. and your followings list will be much more manageable. Chapter 9 suggests some tools. After you break the 100-following mark. Then. using third-party applications built on Twitter’s API. Click the Notices tab. You can figure out whom you follow in a few ways. you get a User Does Not Follow You error message (as shown in Figure 3-7). or you’re just curious who’s reading your tweets. ✓ Try to send a user who may be following you a direct message. which is considerably easier than scrolling through your followers page by page. you have to click through the Followers list page by page.com). and Updates. . Twitter sorts the list with the people who’ve started following you the most recently at the top. Similar to the Following link (which we talk about in the preceding section). you can just click a link in the e-mail to that user’s profile and see right away whether you want to follow them back. you probably want to find another method for figuring out whom you follow. that can show you both who you’re following and who’s following you. 55 Figuring Out Who’s Following You You may also want to see who’s following you on Twitter — maybe you want to find new people to follow. click the second button in the gray box just below the You Follow notification at the top of the page. Then you have to decide whether you want to try to get that user’s attention in another way. it will say List. it brings up a list of people who are following you. You can pull up the list of your followers on any Twitter page. Click that. and click Save. such as TwitterKarma (http:// dossy. If she is following you. If that user isn’t following you. If you don’t want to have to constantly use a site such as FriendorFollow to keep up with your followers. Just like the Following list. and click Followers. you’re able to send that direct message. The e-mail notification authorizes Twitter to send you an e-mail alerting you about each new follower. If you hover over the button. Find the sets of numbers in the upper-right sidebar labeled Following.org/twitter/karma) and FriendorFollow (http://friendor follow. Be sure to check for the Action message on her actual Profile page when you do so. you have several options: ✓ Turn on e-mail notifications in the Settings area. Followers. check the Email When Someone Starts Following Me check box. as the Direct Messages interface has been buggy in the past.
Looking at What You’ve Tweeted You can see what you’ve tweeted in the past in a variety of ways.com). If your username is @dummies. The tweet you’re looking for is most likely in the search results. you might want to include the @ — plus a keyword from the tweet. you can first look for it by using Twitter’s search page (http://search. Figure 3-8 shows a Twitter Search results page. Just like the pages showing your followers and who you follow (which you can read about in the preceding sections). navigate to http://twitter. The first place to check is your own profile: Click the Profile link in the top-right corner navigation bar (or just click your avatar) to open your Profile page. in addition to displaying your short bio and profile information. you can keep clicking the More button on the bottom of the page to see older posts. your profile is a publicly accessible URL. Do a search for your username — if it’s a common name. If you’re looking for a specific tweet.com/dummies to jump directly to your Profile page. Also.twitter. Your Profile page. displays a feed of all your public tweets in chronological order.56 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 3-7: A notification of a direct message failure. .
If you protect your updates. you see a list of links to “trending topics. Additionally. Bing and Google actually purchase data from Twitter.com. Google. in addition to the tweets themselves. searching by using Twitter Search doesn’t work because the tweets aren’t indexed in the search engine. or the World Series is on TV. both Google’s and Bing’s search interface makes it possible to see who else is talking about your tweets. Tracking trends If you’re interested in searching for more than just what you’ve tweeted about yourself. and below the Search button. you’re likely to see it as a trending topic. you can see what the rest of the world is tweeting about on Twitter’s Search page and in the new Trending Topics part of the Home screen sidebar. or a major news event is happening somewhere in the world. You can also search for specific tweets by using Bing. .Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface 57 Figure 3-8: Twitter Search results. or another search engine.twitter. Sometimes the trending topics can introduce you to topics of conversation you didn’t even know about. It’s a small price to pay for privacy. Go to http://search.com and offer advanced search terms so that you can really focus the search.” If a new movie is coming out.
You also may not be thinking today about what may be findable weeks. or your child to stumble across later on the Internet while searching for something else. Bing and other search engines. Because Bing and other search engines index your tweets. On the other hand. and because of its conversational nature. Twitter is so easy to use that it’s equally easy to slip up. as well as Twitter’s own search tool. as tweets about a person may actually show up closer to the top of search results than mentions of her name on other types of Web sites. run a search for Firstname Lastname Twitter.” A Ketchum PR executive famously upset his client — FedEx — when he tweeted a snide remark about Memphis on landing there for his meeting with them. On one hand. those search engines can bring more people to your Twitter profile. you need to be cautious: if you’re tweeting as ‘you’. You’ve Been Listed Santa’s not the only one who gets to check things twice these days. In any case. Ooops! Remember the context you’re tweeting in (he was on a client visit) and also remember that people may assume that you’re talking about them when you’re not. we advise not saying anything on Twitter that you wouldn’t want your mom. and years from now. and adds that on to your Twitter profile in the upper-right corner. it is kind of like being followed in that a user has identified you as a person to follow. Also take great care with names. If you imagine that someone whose opinion you value is looking at what you write. instead of getting a new follower. Someone may have listed you for a few reasons.com or Google.58 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Google and Bing do such a good job of indexing Twitter that it remains (at this writing) the best way to find out whether someone is on Twitter or not. Twitter users also get to make Lists of people. which can then possibly bring those people to your Web site. your boss. you can avoid getting in any trouble. Twitter identifies you as Listed. When you’re added to a List. So. you can sometimes forget that it isn’t a private room. this indexing is good for your visibility online. and usually you can find out right away whether a person is a tweeter. months. and they think you have entertaining tweets. You can delete your tweets on Twitter by clicking the Trash Can icon. But. but if you don’t do it within a few seconds.com. At Bing. and that it isn’t an “inner monologue. in which case. You may have gone to school with that person. be very afraid! Your public tweets are indexed by search engines. Bear in mind that very famous people who appear to be tweeting may be fan pages or other hoaxes. you must have done something right for them to have listed you! . sometimes tweets are forever. though — unless @DarthVader actually does exist. have already indexed those tweets. You may have met that person at an event.
followed by a slash. We go into Lists a bit more in Chapters 5 and 7. What’s particularly neat about this is that if you click on the list name or visit http://twitter. So. 59 Figure 3-9: Where you’ve been listed. followed by the name of the list itself (see Figure 3-9). and they can be pretty powerful tools to help you manage your Twitter experience.com/dummies/authors.Chapter 3: Stroll Around the Grounds: A Tour of the Twitter Interface To see who’s listed you (and what list you’ve been put on). Lists add a little bit of complexity and subtlety to the Twitter experience. the list @dummies/authors means that the user @dummies created a list called authors. click the Listed button on the upper-right. . you’ll see the stream of tweets written by the people in that list. The list names are structured in a neat way: they are written as the user who made the list.
60 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? .
text messaging. may want to use Twitter. or any number of third-party services built by using Twitter’s application program interface (API). This is a big reason for Twitter’s popularity. though. and in short. as an individual. gadgets.Chapter 4 Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best In This Chapter ▶ Getting with the Twitter program ▶ Considering third-party interfaces ▶ Using Twitter everywhere witter’s a great tool for providing friends. based on your needs. as you’ve probably noticed. not just on the computer. browser plug-ins. you need to figure out how you prefer to access the service. You can use widgets. T The User Multi-Face: Interacting with Twitter Every Which Way If you want to get the most out of Twitter. But. . because Twitter’s got you covered. Don’t worry. In this chapter. Some people use the Twitter Web site or the Twitter Mobile Web site. a huge array of ways to interact with Twitter at your convenience and on your terms. and we also give you some pointers for maximizing the application. The folks at Twitter have designed their application so that you can use it in multiple ways. life occurs in a lot of places. family. and followers with updates on what’s going on in your life. we go over all the ways that you.
mobility. But what happens if you need more functionality. or just want to share Twitter on an external Web site or blog.62 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Like most users. shown in Figure 4-1. Text messages (SMS delivery) You can fairly simply opt into receiving Twitter via text messages (SMS delivery). Click the Settings link at the top-right of your Twitter Home screen. . You can find plenty of options out there for doing all this and more. versatility. The Settings page opens. and convenient: Most of what you need is right there in the sidebar or in the top toolbar. to manage your Twitter stream and communicate with your contacts. no-frills. and roughly half of all twitterers (probably more now with Twitter’s extraordinary recent growth) use Twitter. It’s simple. you have to set up a mobile device so that Twitter knows where to send your tweets: 1.com and using the basic Web interface.com to access the service. First. need a few more organizational options than the Web page affords. or you just want more bells and whistles? Some Twitter users prefer not to access the service through a browser window. Figure 4-1: The Web interface. you probably started by logging into Twitter. which is just one of the ways you can use Twitter.
4. 6. To check and see whether any given individual is set to device updates ON or OFF: 63 . Make sure that your cellphone carrier has an unlimited text-messaging plan — or that you’re willing to pay for a lot of extra texts — before setting Twitter device notifications to On. 3. (Optional) Select a sleep period when you prefer not to receive updates and click Save. You’ll receive a text message from Twitter confirming that your device has been verified and SMS alerts have been enabled. you’ll see toggle buttons next to each person on your following list. If you’re enabling device updates. You have to manually turn these device updates on for each individual. Enter your mobile phone number in the text field. check the box granting Twitter permission to send you a text message. under the heading Sleep.com/ friends) to view a list of the people you follow. Twitter doesn’t charge for texts. You can also opt to have them turned off during a specific time (say. In the Device Updates drop-down list. select On if you want to receive tweets as text messages on your phone or direct messages if you would like to receive only your direct messages. because she loves to use the text commands to add people. Choose whose device updates you want to see. Now. but your carrier might! Laura has unlimited texting even though she doesn’t receive any text updates from Twitter. Refresh the page until you see your cellphone number listed. Click Home and then click Following (or just go to www. but you don’t want them coming in 24 hours a day. send tweets. Click Save when you’re done. You’re given an alphabetical code and instructed to text this code from your phone to 40404.twitter.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best 2. you can choose to have text-message notifications on. 7. select the Turn Off Updates During These Hours check box and select the hours during which you don’t want to receive updates on your phone. Click the Mobile tab. You don’t automatically receive device updates from everyone you follow on Twitter. Send the code from your phone as a text message to 40404. Turn on SMS device updates for your Twitter account and then click Save. 8. and send direct messages. 5. or direct messages only. while you’re usually sleeping or at work). off. When device updates are on for your account. and click the Save button. Then click Save.
Send an on username message to turn Device updates on and off username to turn them off. Then on Twitter.com).com. or other Google-owned services. you can also control this setting using SMS on your phone. You already have one of these accounts if you use Gmail. RSS feeds You can receive updates from Twitter via an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. 2. but we recommend Google Reader (http:// reader. After you get your RSS feed reader set up. but the information is still there and will reappear when device updates are turned back on for your account. follow the instructions. you won’t be able to view it. 3. An RSS feed delivers the content to you so that you don’t have to constantly be logged into the Web page. You don’t have to know much about technology to get one of these and set it up. From there. enable all device updates on your phone. The green check and ON means that you will. You just need a way to see the feed: Most people use something called a feed reader.google. or one for the people whom you follow.64 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? 1. click it. you just have to look for the feed symbol in your browser’s URL entry field (see Figure 4-2). You can access a user’s profile by clicking the user’s @username in one of his tweets. Turn an individual’s device updates on or off. Of course. Follow Google’s pretty easy instructions to get started with Google Reader. Go to that user’s profile on Twitter. If you forget who you’ve set to receive mobile device updates from. for example) whose tweets you want sent to your phone. Just under their avatar photo look for the device updates status. you can toggle Device updates On and Off for many users at a time right on one page with the round button with a cellphone icon on it. The red dash and OFF means you won’t get this person’s tweets as SMS messages even when SMS device updates are turned ON for your account. It’s listed underneath the person’s username. go to the user’s profile page (twitter.com/dummies. Then come back to Twitter and set up your RSS feeds. You can choose from many feed readers out there. . What can you see with a Twitter RSS feed? You can set up a feed for your @replies so you never miss a message. Picasa. much like you would for any blog or news Web site that you follow. First. you can always go to the list of people you’re following by clicking Following (see Chapter 3 for more instructions) to find that information. one for your DMs (direct messages). iGoogle. If you turn device updates off. and the feed shows up in your feed reader.
Click the Profile link in the upper-right of any Twitter page. including the ability to thread tweets and track conversations. Click the Mentions tab in the right sidebar (which is marked with @username). Many of these clients also offer features that Twitter doesn’t. delete direct messages. 2. which varies by browser.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best 65 Figure 4-2: An RSS button. open simultaneous accounts. This logo is usually all the way to the right in the text field where you enter URLs. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the orange RSS button. depending on which browser you use. Basically. and TweetDeck (shown in Figure 4-3). The feed symbol is universal. We cover these desktop clients more thoroughly in Chapter 7. that means you can add its content to your feed reader. These services work by talking to Twitter to get the information they need. Desktop clients You can access Twitter through one of the many downloadable desktop applications that third-party developers have created using Twitter’s API. create groups. If you use an application other than Google Reader. you may have to copy and paste the RSS feed’s URL into your reader. You can also click the RSS logo in your browser. Twitterrific. Some of the most popular applications are Twhirl. but it may differ. 3. and more. Your Mentions page appears. Your Profile page appears. . filter content. a Twitter client allows you to use Twitter from your desktop without having a browser open. they don’t work if Twitter isn’t working. If you see one on a Web site. they rely on it to gather and relay the data you see and use. To get your @replies RSS feed: 1. Clicking this button (or logo) automatically prompts you to add the feed to the feed address into Google Reader if you have it set up. So. not unique to Twitter.
clicking the link for your direct messages page or Twitter Home screen in Step 2. Now. which is a plug-in that you can use with the Mozilla Firefox Web browser.net). and you can’t use it if you don’t use Firefox. It won’t run on Safari or Internet Explorer. TwitterFox A third-party application created for Twitter is TwitterFox (http://twitter fox. Subscribing to RSS feeds If you want to set up an RSS feed for your direct messages or all your followers’ tweets. . simply repeat the steps to get your @replies RSS feed. and you don’t have to be logged into any service to stay on top of who’s talking to or about you. Plug-in just means that the application gets installed right into the browser and runs from there. you can read Twitter from your RSS reader alongside blogs and news outlets.66 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 4-3: You can get your Twitter info by using TweetDeck.
A good way to tell whether an application is okay is to ask your friends on Twitter whether they use it. 67 Widgets and gadgets Twitter and other sites offer widgets (or. You can install the Google gadget by clicking the download button at http://desktop. gadgets) that let you embed information from a service such as Twitter onto other sites so that you can share Twitter more easily.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best Although most plug-ins and add-ons made for Twitter are safe to put on your computer. . so there’s no telling how many thousands of Twitter widgets actually exist. Evan Williams (@ev) announced the creation of a new Tweeting platform called @anywhere. widgets come in the form of HTML code that you can copy and paste into a MySpace profile or blog template. Mozilla approves plug-ins that have been submitted to its developer program. The idea is to recreate the experience of communicating with Twitter users on Twitter. The Google gadget works on Google Desktop. as Google calls them. but within the context of another Web site.google. Plug-ins that are proven not to be harmful are endorsed by Mozilla. Preview: @anywhere At the 2010 South by Southwest Interactive festival. Twitter users could live-discuss the latest headlines on The New York Times (www. as well as the iGoogle personal home page product. You can find the Twitter application for Facebook at http://apps. For example.com/goodies/widgets. Just go to http://twitter.com). Twitter has an official page where you can find the code for an embeddable widget.facebook. complete with step-by-step instructions for installing it. such as Facebook.html. Other times. You can find an official Twitter application for Facebook.nytimes. article. they come in the form of an application that you have to install on a social-network platform. or event. You can use dozens and dozens of official and unofficial widgets for Twitter. anyone can build a widget using any RSS feed as the content supply. too.com.com) or products they’re considering purchasing on eBay (www. Most active Twitter users are happy to provide tips and recommendations. which means that you can make your Twitter updates show up as your Facebook status updates.com/plugins/i/twitter.com/ twitter. always be careful any time you install something new. Sometimes.ebay. Using free widget-building tools. or you can display a badge of your tweets on your Facebook profile.
If you have a higher-end phone.twitter.com. you probably won’t ever touch the Twitter API directly. You can get this mobility via SMS (which we talk about in the “Text messages (SMS delivery)” section. Depending on which mobile device you’re viewing the mobile site. services. but you will be using it — without even knowing it — every time you use a thirdparty application.com a handful of times in this book because its mission is to help those new to Twitter find the very best and most useful applications. Apple’s iPhone has a nice interface for Twitter. . some (such as Tweetie.68 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Putting Twitter on your site You might want to go a bit beyond run-of-themill widgets if you’re hoping to put Twitter on another Web page seamlessly. As this feature was announced just as this book’s second edition was going into print. earlier in this chapter) or on the Twitter Mobile Web site at http://m. We mention Laura’s company www. but you can use it pretty much as you do the normal site (see Figure 4-4). Web-based Twitter site’s features (for example. follow @anywhere on Twitter. For more information about @anywhere. If you have technical expertise or access to a good Web developer. You can find details on building a widget at http://apiwiki. and some (such as Twitterrific) have both free and paid versions. Going Mobile: The Key to Happiness In our experience. You should be able to use Twitter anywhere. Please let her know whether it’s helpful to you. com/anywhere. the key to Twitter happiness is Twitter mobility. there are few sites using @anywhere. such as the iPhone or BlackBerry.com/anywhere) or check out the Twitter’s Development portal at http://dev. particularly on your phone. anytime.twitter.oneforty. you can try out a few downloadable Twitter apps. and you can find several options in the iTunes App Store that you can download to make Twitter on the go even easier.com. If you’re not a computer programmer or developer. you can’t see your favorites or a list of your followers).com (twitter. and tools within the Twitter ecosystem.twitter. you can build your own widget or plug-in for your site that uses the Open Twitter API. which you can see in action in Figures 4-5 and 4-6) cost a few bucks. Some of these apps (such as Twinkle and TwitterFon) are free. the interface might be missing a few of the regular. and any way that you want.
com Web site.twitter . BlackBerry users also have a challenge — the device’s specialized browser can’t display all the content on Twitter. Figure 4-5: You can read your tweet stream with the Tweetie iPhone application. BlackBerry users have fewer applications at their disposal. including the extremely popular TwitterBerry (shown in Figure 4-7). such as photos and some links.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best 69 Figure 4-4: The robust iPhone m. .
a Twitter BlackBerry application .70 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? Figure 4-6: You can post new tweets by using Tweetie. Figure 4-7: TwitterBerry.
com). ? questions. . Try out a few to see which ones you prefer. Tweetie ($2. These mobile Twitter apps barely scratch the surface of what you can find out there.com). oneforty (www. If you can’t find an existing application that works with Twitter to make it do exactly what you need. especially if you plan to mold Twitter to fit a specific company goal or make it a big part of a marketing campaign or promotion. but with Twitter. The API is so customizable that you can create a completely new service for Twitter on a whim. you can mold it to work anywhere you need it to: at work. you can either make one yourself or hire someone to do it. and new ones are created fairly regularly. whose debates over Twitterfon (free). and that flexibility is a big part of what keeps Twitter users loyal through all its growing pains. among others.99). and no user group is more enthusiastic than the iPhone crowd. There’s no real consensus on which is the best.oneforty. . answering your perennial Which app is best for. has a much more complete list of Twitter applications that enhance your tweeting experience. 71 The open-API difference Twitter’s open API fuels its flexibility. based on what you want to do with it — which is a big plus. at home. If you do have a touch screen. try Twitroid (www. and Twittelator Pro ($4.99).twitroid. Laura’s company.Chapter 4: Using Twitter Wherever You Think Best If you have a Windows Mobile phone. we recommend an application called ceTwit if you don’t have a touch screen. look into an iPhone-like interface client called PocketTwit (made by Google Labs). Everyone pretty much swears by the apps they love the best. can keep a conversation going through several pints of beer at a tweetup. . Full customization is rare on the Web. Android users. or even while rock climbing.
72 Part I: Twitter? Like Birds Do? .
Part II Joining Your Flock on Twitter .
In this part . . .
fter you set up a Twitter account and know how to find everything Twitter-related that you might need, you probably want to know and find the people you want to communicate with. In this part, we show you how to find the people you may know outside of Twitter on Twitter, locate people who share your interests, and identify other personalities and brands that you may want to connect with using Twitter.
Tweeting It Up
In This Chapter
▶ Following people ▶ Scouring Twitter for interesting people to follow ▶ Replying to messages, privately and publicly ▶ Attracting new followers
ne of the neatest byproducts of the Twitter experience is that your conversations, your followers, and your ability to interact with your network extends far past the Twitter.com interface into other platforms and even into the real world due to Twitter’s ability to facilitate communications to plan both formal and spontaneous events. But equally important to accessing your Twitter account from virtually anywhere is understanding how to interact within the community. In this chapter, we go over the nuts and bolts involved in discovering, managing, and interacting with your network: the people you follow on Twitter and the people who follow you. Additionally, we give you some hints about how to play well with others within the twitterverse so that you can start having conversations right away!
Finding People to Follow on Twitter
A key part of getting the most out of Twitter is knowing where and how to find people whose Twitter streams are of interest to you. Most people start by following their friends, associates, and people they know. However, millions of people use Twitter, so you might consider scouring Twitter.com for other people who can add value to your stream. You can easily find and follow people on Twitter: You naturally browse to people’s profiles when you think that something they say is interesting or relevant to you. But, when you start accumulating updates from the people you follow, you’ll quickly realize that you need to figure out who’s worth following. That process can become complicated because of the large size and diversity of the Twitter ecosystem.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Avid users have countless theories and strategies about the best ways and reasons to follow others. But, remember, Twitter is for your use, so you can make up your own rules as you go along, creating your own criteria for building up a Twitter stream. Twitter is a very personalized experience. No two people use Twitter in exactly the same way, and no two people follow a given account on Twitter for exactly the same reasons. Quite literally, no two people experience the same Twitter because everyone is consuming different streams, and publishing to, and interacting with, different sets of readers. Twitter is not a single village, as the term Twitterville implies. When Laura wrote “Twitter is my Village,” (http://pistachioconsulting.com/ it-takes-a-village-to-understand-twitter), she meant that each twitterer’s personal community on Twitter functions like a village. Even now that Twitter has entered the mainstream, you’re still able to shape your experience by selecting who you listen to and interact with. As you become better at your entire Twitter experience, you naturally develop and change your own guidelines for building your network. Luckily, Twitter is built to allow for these changes, so you don’t have to miss a beat. Whether you’re looking for business associates, news sources, friendly conversation, or anything else, Twitter can help you surround yourself with people and companies that can enrich your stream.
Look who’s talking
When you want to start looking for people to follow, see whether anyone’s already talked back to you. If you’ve already posted some tweets, people may have replied to you. (If you haven’t yet tweeted, what are you waiting for? Dive in and start tweeting!) When someone wants to address you directly on Twitter, that user does so by replying to you. They simply put the @ symbol before your Twitter handle at the beginning of a tweet — that’s all it takes to reply. As a subtle point, if someone includes your name preceded by an @ symbol anywhere in their tweet, it’s more generally considered an @-mention. Either way, you can view any tweets that mention you on the Mentions tab in the sidebar (it’s the tab with @ followed by your username on it), assuming that those tweets are public or the person mentioning you has authenticated you to view their tweets (if their account is private). If you’re completely new to Twitter and you’ve only posted a handful of tweets, you probably won’t have any mentions yet. That’s okay! You have plenty of other options for finding people to follow (see the next sections).
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
Searching for people
You can best search for people on Twitter by using one of two methods: Twitter Search (http://search.twitter.com) or the People Search function (http://twitter.com/search/users). You can also reach Twitter’s People Search page (as shown in Figure 5-1) by clicking Find People in the upper-right corner of your Twitter screen’s toolbar. Another, lesser-known way to find people on Twitter is by simply using the Google search engine at www.google.com. Because Google indexes every public tweet, you can use it to find twitterers by interest or by name. To use Google to find twitterers that you might want to follow, either search their firstname lastname and the word Twitter or do a slightly more specific search this way:
Figure 5-1: Search for Twitter users on the People Search page.
1. Type your keywords or the username you’re looking for in the text box. 2. Add site:Twitter.com at the end of your search query. 3. Click the Search button. See what pops up! Figure 5-2 shows the results of a search for Lance Armstrong.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
You probably want to conduct people searches and keyword searches periodically to make sure that you continue to cultivate your Twitter experience’s richness and value with new voices. Although Twitter is great for reconnecting with old friends and keeping up a conversation with existing business associates, it’s also a fantastic way to reach out and find new people and companies to listen to. A great way to get started following people on Twitter is to import your contacts from your Web-based e-mail account (like Yahoo! Mail or Gmail). We cover this in detail in Chapter 2.
Figure 5-2: The Google results of a Twitter user search for Lance Armstrong.
Using Simple Search
Twitter’s main search page (http://search.twitter.com) is great for advanced searching. But, sometimes, a quick search is what you need. Twitter makes it easy to do this, as well as save that search for immediate future use. In the right-hand column, you can see a search field immediately below the Retweets link (shown in Figure 5-3). You can type anything you want there and when you press enter or click the magnifying glass, your Twitter feed turns into a live search result of all the tweets that match your search query.
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
If this is a search you think you’d be doing often, you can save that search by clicking on the Save this search button, marked by the green plus sign, on the upper-right hand corner of the feed. That search term sits inside of your right-hand sidebar for quick access to live search results. (You can find it under the search box.)
Figure 5-3: Fast Twitter Search for the Jonas Brothers.
Inviting people personally, through Twitter
Another option for inviting people to Twitter is to do it personally, directly to their individual e-mail addresses. You can find this tab (Invite By Email) on the Find People page (as shown in Figure 5-4), and it gives you a way to hand-pick people from your e-mail address book. You can also text Twitter at 40404 at anytime with the words invite firstname.lastname@example.org substituting in your friend’s e-mail address, of course. Keep in mind that Twitter doesn’t offer you a chance to customize what the e-mail says. The person or company you invite gets a generic e-mail that mentions your Twitter handle and some basic information about how to sign up for an account. If you have people you want to invite to Twitter whom you think may not respond well to a generic e-mail, you can use the method described in the following section to invite them, instead.
and you think they’d respond better to a private or more personalized note. Checking out Twitter Lists One of Twitter’s newer features is the ability for users to create lists of accounts. You can use this feature to your advantage when finding other Twitter users to follow. You can view these lists as discreet Twitter streams so that when you view them. It’s often more effective to e-mail them a link to an article that is going to help them understand what uses of Twitter they may find valuable. if a classmate of yours has found you on Twitter. If you know people whom you want to invite. just shoot them a normal e-mail that includes a link to the Twitter main page (www. For example. lifetime-to-master type of system. For example. you . Unsurprisingly. the only tweets that show up are from the person in that list. you can assign those people to lists. By using the Lists feature. they’re called Twitter Lists. Twitter is definitely a minute-to-learn.twitter. others are people you work with. some are friends you went to school with. and they can provide some structure to the people that you follow in allowing you to categorize them.com) and a note about why they might benefit from signing up and joining in.80 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Figure 5-4: The Twitter Invite By Email screen. you may have a few different types of people you’ve followed: some are celebrities. The main drawback to any of the invitation options in Twitter’s Web interface is that none of them offer a custom message option.
FollowFriday is exactly what makes Twitter great. #followfriday. Plus. The concept is very simple: Write a tweet listing two or three people you follow that you think others should follow as well.” After a suggestion to add the hashtag #follow f r i d a y and four folks retweeting it. time because it’s Friday overseas!) and it’s growing each week. now does it? .000 recommendations are sent each Friday (it actually begins on Thursday U. your news-junkie friend may have a list of the best breaking-news Twitter accounts. You can go into that list. more than 100. After a few months. you can see the usernames of everyone she has found on Twitter who went to your school. you can use other people to help find accounts that can add value to your experience.com to see frequently recommended Twitter users.000 tweets with more than 300. participatory way. and provide a bit of an explanation. and everyone follow him/her. We cover Lists more in-depth in Chapter 7. and he has this to say about it: In January of 2009. and if you trust them. so be brief both with your recommendations and with your explanations!) For example.” That’s it! If you’re new to Twitter and you’re looking for people to follow. In short. By clicking on that list. which we cover in Chapter 9. Today its @jeffrey and @dannynewman. and people have the time to think about whom they would like to recommend. One person suggests a book to read. or check out sites like http://followfridays. or a person you should meet. curated by your friend. it’s easy. you take their word. If you find a list that you really enjoy. FollowFriday mirrors what happens in the real world. Every Friday. suggest people to follow. (Remember: It’s only 140 characters.com to see people who have been recommended. Why Fridays? Fridays seem to work well because it’s the end of the week.Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up may visit her profile and notice that she’s created a list of people that went to your alma mater. Or. It uses a community-driven system called hashtags. FollowTuesday just doesn’t have the same type of ring.com and http://topfollowfriday. “@pistachio @micah @gruen are three people that make me laugh every day. you can add that list to your own Twitter List collection. twitter.S. Our friend Micah Baldwin (@micah. FollowFriday was born. 81 A community leads Twitter users have come up with an interesting way of recommending people to follow — something called FollowFriday. or a restaurant to go to. you can search for #followfriday at http://search. and select the breaking news outlet that works best for you. It gives you the ability to participate. pronounced Me-ha) started it. After all. and you can share people you’re proud to know (even if it’s just on Twitter) with other people. in a very easy. Twitter is about sharing information and experiences with people you’re proud to be associated with. I sent a simple tweet: “I am starting FollowFridays.
If you find receiving Twitter notices a bother. Click Settings in the top-right navigation bar. but if you’d like to help Twitter identify these accounts. Twitter sends you an e-mail every time someone follows you. Select any of the e-mails you’d rather not receive. Figure 5-5: On the Notices screen. They’re pretty easy to spot. You see a list of e-mail notification options. usually offering you the usual fare of online deals or bedroom-related drugs. or it may be because they think you’re a good person to follow. Twitter. you can choose which. has spammers. The Settings page opens. if any.com. This is a useful starting point for finding people to follow because there’s likely a reason why they followed you in the first place. it’s nice to know when someone’s following you. Either way. they still crop up from time to time. 3. you can click the Block and Report for Spam button on their profiles. like any popular online communication tool. 2. you can turn them off: 1. It may be because they know you. Click the Notices tab (see Figure 5-5). e-mails are sent to your mailbox. . Although Twitter has aggressively fought spam accounts. You can safely ignore them.82 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter By following back By default.
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
How to Follow People
Mechanically, following people on Twitter is dead simple. After you navigate to a person’s Profile page, click the Follow button just below her avatar. And, you’re done! Give it a shot: 1. Browse to http://twitter.com/dummies. 2. Click the Follow button. The button changes to the word Following. Cool! Alternately, you can post this message from SMS or any Twitter interface by typing Follow username or F username. Following people on Twitter is straightforward. On the most superficial level, you just have to pay attention. Twitter is full of thousands of great conversations going on all around you. If you open yourself up to them, you may find that hundreds of excellent people are thrilled to meet you.
Following People Even More Quickly with Hover
When you’re operating on Twitter-time, sometimes you may feel that it takes you too long to decide whether or not to follow someone when you see their username show up in your Twitter feed. For these reasons, Twitter developed the Hover feature. The Hover feature is really straightforward: hover your mouse over anyone’s username in the feed and a box pops up, giving you a quick summary of who that user is, giving you an easy way to understand the tweet in context, and allowing you to follow them right from the hover box! The Hover feature has been known to be a little buggy, so if your Internet connection is slow or Twitter.com simply doesn’t feel like it, you won’t get the hover. However, the feature’s only meant to make it easier for you to figure out who users are without navigating away. Visiting that user’s profile will do the same thing, in any case.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Replying to Tweets
So, what happens when you receive an @reply, and you want to respond — or if you just want to respond to any tweet, for that matter? Hover your mouse cursor over the right side of the tweet in question when you see it in your stream on Twitter’s Home screen, and images of an arrow and a star appear (as shown in Figure 5-6). Clicking the Star icon bookmarks that tweet as a favorite — which we cover in Chapter 3. But clicking the Arrow icon sets up the Twitter entry field so that you can reply to that individual tweet. When you send your response, it says In Reply To below the tweet and includes a live link to the standalone page (also known as a permalink) for the tweet you responded to. Figure 5-7 shows a typical Twitter @reply.
Figure 5-6: Don’t miss the Reply arrow!
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
You may find these permalinks helpful because Twitter is not great at threading tweets together by conversation. If you’re familiar with a set of @replies and the links associated with them, you can much more easily navigate the conversation later. When you know how to access the individual page for each tweet, you can also link to that tweet directly if you choose to respond to it in a longer format outside of Twitter, such as a blog post. You can reply to any tweet that you can see, and the procedure is the same, whether you’re following the person or not. But, assuming your Twitter account is public, your @replies are public, too. If you want to use Twitter for private messages, the protocol is a little different, as we talk about in the section “Direct Messaging,” later in this chapter.
Figure 5-7: You can respond to tweets by using @ replies.
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Go ahead and jump right in
Given the casual and conversational tone of Twitter, you can pretty easily jump into an existing conversation on Twitter, and (unless you’re trying) you don’t look like you’re barging in. Twitter users are aware that this is a public forum and contributions can come from anywhere and at anytime. Start by clicking one of the usernames involved in the conversation, or enter one or both usernames manually in the Update window. (Remember: The format for addressing a Twitter user is @username.) Then chime in by saying something relevant to their discussion. Don’t rush to be conversational to the point that you end up being irrelevant. If the conversation is about something you don’t know anything about, hold off. But if it’s about a movie that you’ve seen or a business theory that you’ve put into practice, pipe up! It may take a few tries with a few different people to get the ball rolling. Don’t be discouraged if you send out a few @replies and don’t get responses; some Twitter users, especially relatively new ones, don’t always pay close attention or respond to @replies either from people whom they’re not following or those who don’t seem particularly perceptive to them. Many people on Twitter, however, respond very quickly to new voices in their Twitter stream because, for many on Twitter, the point is to be conversational. Be patient about expecting replies to questions that are easily answered using Google or other resources. Also please be patient with people that a lot of people talk to. Demi Moore, for example, does a great job of conversing with the hundreds and hundreds of people who write to @mrskutcher every day, but if she tried to answer everyone, she would have no time to be with her family (or for that matter, to be beautiful and entertaining in her films!). To see how busy her @mentions tab is, just search @mrskutcher (http:// search.twitter.com/search?q=%40 mrskutcher).
In the early days of Twitter, it was commonplace for people not to just reply to tweets they liked, but to forward that tweet on to their own followers. This practice grew to be known as retweeting (RT or R/T for short) and was so popular that Twitter built that functionality directly into their interface. To retweet a link, follow these steps: 1. Hover over the tweet that you’d like to forward on to your followers. 2. Click the Retweet button. A confirmation dialog pops up, so click yes, and that tweet will be forwarded on to your followers. To your followers, that tweet looks as if it came from the person who wrote the tweet in the first place, complete with their avatar picture and username. To credit you for the retweet, Twitter places your name directly below the tweet.
Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up
If the user has marked their updates as private, you won’t see the retweet button. However, you can, of course, retweet them as you would before Twitter implemented the Retweet feature.
Retweeting the old-fashioned way
Although the Retweet feature is pretty neat, some users prefer the old way of doing things. (In fact, some Twitter API applications, which we cover in later chapters, don’t include the retweet functionality, so it’s good to know what the manual RT looks like in these cases.) To retweet someone’s tweet, simply retype or copy and paste that tweet into your Tweet prompt at the top of the page and format it like so: RT @dummies This Tweet was written so you can practice retweeting. Some people (not us) prefer to retweet people this way: This Tweet was written so you can practice retweeting. (via @dummies) In our minds, Twitter etiquette says to make every effort to credit the original speaker of the tweet. When reviewing Twitter, many readers will read the beginning of the tweet and ignore the remainder or anything in parentheses following the tweet. Therefore, in our minds, it’s more polite to recognize the speaker upfront.
Commentary on the retweet
Retweeting the old-fashioned way has some advantages. One compelling reason is that users can comment on the original message. Using Twitter’s built-in retweet function, that’s not possible as the original message is preserved and forwarded as-is. Therefore, to add commentary, you must either write it in another Tweet and link to the original, or use the old RT method if there’s room for comment. For example, one might say: @neilarmstrong: That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Only to be retweeted with addendum: @buzzaldrin: That was supposed to be “a man”. Sheesh! RT @neilarmstrong That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. (Note: we are as certain that these Twitter accounts are those of the famous astronauts as we are that the moon landing wasn’t faked in a Hollywood basement.)
Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter
Private messages on Twitter are called direct messages (DMs). Like any other kind of tweet, they’re limited to 140 characters in length. You can’t send a DM to someone unless that Twitter user is following you — likewise, only your own followers can send you DMs. What do you do if you want to get in touch with someone privately on Twitter but that person isn’t following you? New Twitter users are often tempted to send @replies to that person saying “tried to DM but you don’t follow” or something of the sort. Some Twitter users don’t mind receiving those kinds of tweets, but many others see them as rude or as blatant attempts to get new followers. So, if you’re trying to get in touch with someone who doesn’t follow you, you have some options: ✓ Check the user’s Profile page. See whether he has made available some other form of contact information — a Web site URL, an e-mail address, or a blog. You can often find this info in a user’s short bio section. ✓ Conduct a Web search. Try searching for the user on your favorite search engine. ✓ Tweet a polite question publicly to the user. While the you-don’t-followme approach is a little obnoxious, most twitterers will make a reasonable effort to respond if you respect their time and make it clear why they should answer you. Send a message to @username expressing why you’re requesting their time and attention, and ask that they respond privately. Just try to differentiate between the ability to reach out to someone and the right to demand a response.
When you’re truly connected, you start to find going to the Direct Messages page every time you want to send someone a message a bit tedious. Thankfully, the folks at Twitter have come up with a shorthand. To send a DM without going to the Direct Messages page: 1. Click in the What Are You Doing? window. 2. Type d, followed by a space, and then the username of the person to whom you want to send a direct message. 3. Type a space after his username and then write a message. The update should have this form: d dummies Hey, there! 4. Click Send button to send the DM. We cover other shorthand tricks in Chapter 7.
89 Should I @ or DM? When you try to decide whether to respond to somebody on Twitter by using a public @reply or a private DM. you should consider the following criteria: ✓ Questionable content: If your mother. Being genuine goes a long way.or two-word responses. but here are a few guidelines to follow: ✓ Be real. If you haven’t protected your tweets. ✓ Sensitive information: If you’re supplying contact information. perhaps a direct message is in order. or other personal information that you don’t want just anyone on the Internet to have access to. such as “@pistachio LOL” or “@dummies How?” for a direct message. You should be sensitive to this fact. would they be in any way embarrassed or disapproving? If the answer is yes. think twice! Encouraging More Followers Twitter is a very receptive environment for forging connections with new friends and contacts. grandmother. pushing two d’s. phone numbers. ✓ Volume: If you’re a power user who posts to Twitter many times a day. so amassing a list of followers is relatively simple. it’s the right time for a direct message. you can very easily make a typing error. addresses. give your followers a break and save those one. . every tweet goes into your followers’ streams and contributes to the noise. Look twice before you send your message to make sure that it’s truly private and not a public tweet by accident. or kid were looking over your shoulder at what you just started typing. or something else. remember that whatever you write is indexed for all time. so if you’re sharing any information pertaining to anybody else’s contact information or whereabouts. you gain followers in the natural course of using Twitter. If you tweet often. So. accidentally posting a letter other than d. err on the side of caution and use a DM. such as misspelling the username.Chapter 5: Tweeting It Up One word of caution if you plan to send direct messages from a phone or by typing d and the username of the recipient: On a small keyboard. especially if it contains personal information that you don’t want the whole Internet to know (such as a phone number or address). Keep in mind that not everybody has the same standards regarding privacy and openness on the Web. boss. and you’re likely to gain followers without even trying. Typically.
now that Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) tweets. instead. or other incentives to reach certain pseudo-milestones. Say that you’re really into classic cars — don’t talk just about your own fascination with them. and then respond thoughtfully.90 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter ✓ Be interesting. Regardless of how you get people to follow you. In our opinion. Plenty of influential people use Twitter. and she notices and responds — you’re going to be barraged by new followers who’ve seen your username in connection with that famous person’s. determines your authority more than any follower count ever could. along with your ability to listen. so don’t count on a response from a famous twitterer as a way to get your foot in the door when it comes to Twitter influence. too. the more you can find out about people and the more well-rounded your experience (and the experience of your followers) becomes. ✓ Be involved. not selfish for the speaker. Listening is the golden ticket of Twitter — make sure to do it every day that you log in. If you wouldn’t interrupt the person next to you in line at the store with your question. What you post on Twitter and contribute to the conversation. If you’re lucky enough that @Oprah posts a tweet with your @username in it — usually after you @Oprah her. The more you listen and hear what people have to say. you can have a better time on Twitter if you just allow your network to grow organically. But the most popular Twitter users have hundreds of thousands of followers and hundreds of people @replying to them. but try to help other people on Twitter who might have questions on the subject. from celebrities like Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and Britney Spears (@britneyspears) to politicians like Democratic Congresswoman Claire McCaskill (@clairecmc) and dozens more. giveaways. Talk about what’s in the news. Heck. . Get into heated conversations and debates. Or talk about what you think should be in the news. but do try to tweet about things more relevant to the world at large than what you just ate for lunch or the heinous traffic on your morning commute. the more people will respond to your enthusiasm. Without being too authoritative. You don’t have to fascinate with every tweet you type. And log in often. This approach is a little bit cheesy and can look like you’re desperate for new followers. The more “into” a topic you are. Some Twitter users try to lure followers by offering contests. Talk about your interests. it’s almost proof enough in and of itself just to mention her. make sure to keep your Twitter interactions genuine. It’s also just rude to use someone like that. position yourself as someone who has some valuable information on your chosen issue to see an increase in your number of followers. We can’t stress the importance of listening enough. Conversation is two-way and most effective when it’s generous to the listener. it’s probably not nice to interrupt someone with a lot of demands on their time with it. such as number of tweets or number of followers.
You may be surprised to see which companies. companies. . but I don’t have their contact info!”? Well.and offline. and the benefits can work for anyone. It’s become an effective tool for reaching out to people. “I wish I could talk to someone higher up the ladder and get a real solution to this problem!” or even “I’d love to be able to tell this person or that company what a good job they do. Tweeting with Regular People After it gained a foothold among the digital-media enthusiasts at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in 2007. Twitter opens doors and grants you all kinds of accessibility to people you might never have had access to before. people. In this chapter. and brands have jumped onto Twitter. Twitter can help you bridge that gap. we cover some of these well-known early Twitter users and show you where you can find others. Twitter allows a user to communicate effectively with one person or many. Have you ever thought.Chapter 6 Who’s Using Twitter In This Chapter ▶ Meeting the regular folks who tweet ▶ Seeing how companies reach out on Twitter ▶ Keeping up with politicians who use Twitter ▶ Tweeting with celebrities ▶ Identifying syndicated and community-created Twitter accounts B ecause Twitter is so easy to use. both on. But over time. and even celebrities. Twitter quickly became a playground for techies and geeks. people from all walks of life have discovered Twitter and embraced it. You can take a look through this chapter to see whether the person or company that you want to find is already here.
which is part of Twitter’s charm. the unconventional twitterers are the most interesting. and network. Sometimes. People at all levels of all sorts of business can use Twitter to easily interact with customers and potential clients and get realtime engagement and feedback. Both introverted and extroverted people can really benefit from this environment. You can easily set up meetings and events through Twitter on fairly short notice. Plus. On Twitter. as well as to meet some like-minded people. Figure 6-1: Martha Stewart has her own Twitter account. such as your family and friends. But the biggest asset of Twitter is the sheer mass of everyday people who want to share their thoughts. You never know who you may find from day to day. You’ll probably want to use Twitter to talk to people whom you know in real life. But you can also meet some very unconventional people on Twitter. the Twitter community has evolved into a real way for real people to connect in the real world. as superficial as a stream of 140-character messages may seem. too. . and coworkers. so many twitterers find themselves turning their online connections into offline friendships and business relationships fairly often.92 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Twitter has become a quick and easy way to stay connected to family. You can probably discover at least one new thing from someone on Twitter every day that you log in. you’ll encounter everyone from celebrities (see Figure 6-1) to local religious leaders and great-grandmothers who blog. friends. spread the news.
It’s also a pretty handy place to find other users of that category you might want to follow. It’s an opt-in service. If you are still unsure. Save those for e-mail or direct messages. Also remember that Google indexes your tweets. You can tell whether or not an account is verified by navigating to the account’s profile page (twitter. so the whole Internet can see what you say. waiting to add their two cents until they think they have something worth saying. and they’re still some of the most prolific users. The core-base of twitterers who formed Twitter’s initial user group still tweet away. its dummy user account for verified accounts. or your best friend from high school — in fact. These are called Verified Accounts. your home address or phone number — in public tweets. To combat identity loss. your mom and your best friend from high school may already be on Twitter. Twitter now verifies accounts of public and popular names. Regardless of whom you know on Twitter. Keep an eye out for those people and follow them as they become visible to you — you sure can get more value out of following them than following someone who posts 20 times a day about their dog. you may want to set a few boundaries. you may think that everyone on Twitter is in the technology or marketing industries in some way. what noncelebrity people can you find on Twitter? At first glance. as of time of print. Exercise caution! Don’t blurt out sensitive information — say. . your mom.com/username) and looking for the Verified Account logo right above the Twitter User’s name. so did the number of fake Twitter accounts claiming to be celebrities and popular brand names.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter So. Twitter puts all of its verified users into a Twitter list on @verified. within the sidebar column. 93 Verified Accounts As Twitter expanded in popularity. Verified Accounts are accounts that the Twitter staff have verified as being who you’d expect them to be. it’s growing rather fast now. Some of the most interesting twitterers post less than others. Just because a Twitter user isn’t one of the most prolific people on the service doesn’t mean that person isn’t worth your time. so although the Twitter accounts @CNN and @NYTimes are both who you would expect them to be. only @CNN has Verified Account status. and even though the Twitter community has tended to be a trustworthy one. But you can also find thousands of people tweeting who are just like you. after all. Twitter works on the Internet.
more than 400 are on Twitter. Here are some of the most famous examples of companies that have gotten some positive buzz for their presence on Twitter: ✓ Zappos.zappos.com/employees) actively tweeting to one another. both current and potential. as she confessed sometime early in 2009.94 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter If the Verified Logo is anywhere other than the upper-right corner of the side column. In fact.) Of nearly 1. who is @el_gato. (He even has an account for his cat. com employees to participate on Twitter to keep the world posted on what’s going on in the company. and boost sales. Not even we are verified! Building Company Relationships with Twitter Many companies have found value in Twitter as a way to build awareness of their brand name. up-to-the-minute status on how you might become a Twitter verified account. The process for becoming a verified account is a bit tricky and will change over time. because we really like Tina Fey. Unfortunately. . Hsieh and the rest of Zappos. Zappos. and an amalgamation of every employee’s tweets and profiles.600 Zappos. chances are good you won’t be. and. Be forewarned! If you suspect you won’t be eligible for Verified Account processing. (http://twitter.com. we have a confession: Even we get it wrong from time to time.com make sure that they’re engaged with their customer base.com features Twitter searches for every brand they sell. Not only does the company monitor and use Twitter for customer service and feedback.Zappos. in the process. provide better and more immediate customer service. about their own lives and work. see: http://twitter. Companies’ presences on Twitter range from individual Twitter accounts belonging to CEOs and employees. In the first edition. El Gato. collected tweets about Zappos.com/help/verified. Bummer. but CEO Tony Hsieh encourages Zappos. we listed Tina Fey as a celebrity to follow on Twitter.com employees. For live. to corporate accounts for the brand run by teams of marketing or PR representatives. It has fully integrated Twitter into its corporate structure. strengthen relationships with customers. Their dedicated microsite http://Twitter. the @tinafey account was not Tina Fey. that account is likely not the user you think it is.com: This online retailer was founded in the dot-com boom and is based in Las Vegas. Hsieh himself often responds to Twitter users if they tweet him about a problem or specific need.
com/templetonrye) These retailers tweet: ✓ Seventh Generation (http://twitter. companies in all kinds of industries are using Twitter effectively.com/twitter. which also maintains a Twitter-focused microsite at www. but Frank’s team is extremely dedicated and inspiring and has attracted substantial press coverage and goodwill toward the company. drink.com/comcastcares) ✓ Network Solutions (http://twitter. Dell. The company countered with a strong social media program that now includes real people behind active Twitter accounts. this cable company took Twitter by surprise (although they had been actively listening to Twitter for two months when they did) and established the Comcast Cares account (@comcastcares). How this will scale remains to be seen.com/secondlife) 95 .com/elanaspantry) ✓ Pangaea Organica (http://twitter.com/bfmwear) ✓ Second Life (http://twitter. such as @RichardAtDell.com/netsolcares) ✓ Baby Fish Mouth (http://twitter. is engaging with customers in several innovative ways thanks to Twitter’s ability to enable real-time interactions and on-the-ball responses. and nightlife: ✓ The Roxy Theater (http://twitter. At one point. customers filled a popular anti-Dell Web site with negative feedback and derogatory remarks.com/pangaeaorganica) ✓ Templeton Rye (http://twitter.com/giftgirl) ✓ Comcast (http://twitter.com/theroxy) ✓ 21st Amendment (http://twitter.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter ✓ Comcast: After serious issues with negative connotations to their brand name. the company’s director of “digital care. run by Frank Eliason.com/seventhgen) ✓ GiftGirl (http://www.twitter.com/21stamendment) ✓ Flying Dog Ales (http://twitter. offering customer service support and Twitter-only discount deals (DellOutlet) that led to over a million in sales.com/flyingdog) ✓ Elanas Pantry (http://twitter.” Frank now has a team of employees on Twitter who handle customer service. ✓ Dell: This computer manufacturer has also had some branding issues. Here is just a tiny sampling of some companies that do business related to food. helping as many as they can and backed up by the ability to escalate problems directly into Comcast’s executive customer service department.dell. In fact.
business. check out these Twitter accounts: ✓ Booking Buddy (http://twitter.com/quickenloans) .com/mgmgrand) ✓ Treasure Island Hotel and Casino (http://twitter.com/capgemini) ✓ H&R Block (http://twitter.com/luxorlv) ✓ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (http://twitter.com/hotelchatter) ✓ Seat Guru (http://twitter.com/yalepress) If you’re looking for travel info.com/smartertravel) ✓ Travel Rants (http://twitter.com/littlebrown) ✓ MEP Publishers (http://twitter.com/lenderflex) ✓ LenderflexCares (http://twitter. have a look at these accounts: ✓ Capgemini (http://twitter.com/globalbasecamps) ✓ HotelChatter (http://twitter.com/HRBlock) ✓ Lenderflex (http://twitter.com/septagonstudios) ✓ Yale Press (http://twitter. check out the following: ✓ Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe (http://twitter.com/ mandalaybay_LV) ✓ MGM Grand Hotel and Casino (http://twitter.com/meppublishers) ✓ Septagon Studios (http://twitter.96 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter These publishing companies have Twitter accounts up and running: ✓ Grand Central Publishing (http://twitter.com/bookingbuddy) ✓ Global Base Camps (http://twitter. Brown and Company (http://twitter.com/ skiheavenly) ✓ Luxor Hotel and Casino (http://twitter.com/TIvegas) If you want some resources on financial matters.com/travelrants) For a sampling of resorts and hotels on Twitter.com/quickbooks) ✓ QuickenLoans (http://twitter. and budgeting.com/seatguru) ✓ Smarter Travel (http://twitter.com/grandcentralpub) ✓ Little.com/lenderflexcares) ✓ QuickBooks (http://twitter.
you can read Pistachio Consulting’s TouchBase blog (www. Easiest way to keep up with both? Twitter.com/nrcc) ✓ U. For more information. as evidenced by the hashtag #tcot. The Democratic Party was the first to jump on the bandwagon. President Barack Obama (http://twitter.com/algore) ✓ The White House (http://twitter.com) or browse the extensive Twitter for Business bookmarks that Pistachio maintains on the TouchBase link blog (http:// delicious. National Republican Congressional Committee (http:// twitter.com/ schwarzenegger) ✓ The Office of British Prime Minister David Cameron (http://twitter. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (http:// twitter. of course. is maintained by a staff member. President Barack Obama’s account. com/number10gov) ✓ Former Vice President Al Gore (http://twitter.com/touchbaseblog).touchbaseblog. and many users started exploring Twitter in the midst of Barack Obama’s tech-savvy and successful presidential campaign. But many prominent Republicans are now onboard as well.S.S. for example. Here are some political groups and figures to get you started: ✓ U. 97 Talking Politics with Actual Politicians Politicians have been taking to Twitter as a means to connect with their constituents and their fellow politicians — as well as to give a more intimate look into their lives at a time when transparency is one of the most positive buzzwords around.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter Thousands and thousands of businesses large and small are using Twitter.S.com/whitehouse) Note that some of these accounts aren’t maintained by the people who use them. so politicians may occasionally seem a bit on the quiet side when tweeting.com/dccc) ✓ U. Government figures have to deal with privacy and legal issues that most other twitterers don’t. . Follow @touchbase to receive a tweet when either of these resources is updated.com/barackobama) ✓ California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (http://twitter. which stands for Top Conservatives on Twitter.
com/johncmayer) ✓ Jimmy Eat World (http://twitter. Cyclist Lance Armstrong (@lancearmstrong) provides information about the race circuit and his charity efforts. Twitter functions as a sort of impromptu fan club for techsavvy celebs both renowned and up-and-coming. Celebrities use Twitter. Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) and other world-renowned household brands have started to sign up. ✓ To share interests: Rapper MC Hammer (@MCHammer). share his favorite music. ✓ To get personal: Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal (@THE_REAL_SHAQ) and celebrity couple Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and Demi Moore (@mrskutcher) use Twitter to offer an intimate — and often irreverent — glimpse into their lives. who founded a Web video startup called DanceJam.5 million new people reached Twitter.” In many ways. and offer lively thoughts on the state of the industry. complaining over tired feet and other mundane life moments that make theirs seem a whole lot more “real.98 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Following Celebrities on Twitter Many people are hearing about Twitter for the first time because they’ve seen it on entertainment news shows such as Access Hollywood or The Soup.com/dalailama) ✓ Jimmy Fallon (http://twitter.com/moonfrye) ✓ John Cleese (http://twitter. Rumor has it that 1. too! The celebrities who use Twitter do so for different reasons: ✓ To connect with fans: Bands such as Coldplay (@coldplay) announce tour and concert dates by using Twitter.com/rainnwilson) ✓ 50 Cent (http://twitter.com/johncleese) . In the weeks leading up to publication.com in the weekend after Ashton Kutcher appeared on her show and Oprah started to tweet. Here are a few more Twitter accounts you may want to take a peek at: ✓ The Dalai Lama (http://twitter.com/50cent) ✓ John Mayer (http://twitter.com/jimmyfallon) ✓ Rainn Wilson (http://twitter.com/wilw) ✓ Soleil Moon Frye (http://twitter.com. ✓ To be real: Singers Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) and Sara Bareilles (@SaraBareilles) tweet just like the rest of us — gushing in excitement over successes.com/jimmyeatworld) ✓ Wil Wheaton (http://twitter. uses his Twitter stream to help promote new artists.
Thankfully. but even that isn’t a guarantee. the chances are good that he’s for real. you may not care if the person is the real celebrity if you actually enjoy the person’s tweets! 99 Twitter Directories To be honest we. Figure 6-2: Twitter users who are of and are relating to Charity. You can usually tell whether the person is legit by looking at the number of followers — if he has a large number of followers. . In the topright navigation bar.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter People do start Twitter accounts using celebrities’ names. Of course. 2nd Edition. Twitter. the Twitter For Dummies.com and a number of sites have made finding popular users even easier. Twitter. and Twitter will break out a number of users you can follow based on category. Impersonating someone on Twitter violates Twitter’s Terms of Service. and they often get a whole slew of followers who have no idea that they’re not following the “real” celebrity — the person they think they’re following. and Twitter has shut down accounts by impersonators.com has a built-in list of suggested users (see Figure 6-2). team simply can’t compete with timeliness or thoroughness of some online Web sites when it comes to finding the buzzworthy people to follow for you. click on Find People and then the Browse Suggestions tab.
if you want to search for authors.com). you can add yourself to WeFollow.100 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter From here. One favorite is WeFollow (www. blogs. shown in Figure 6-3. Signing Up for Syndicated Material Plenty of Twitter accounts syndicate material from all kinds of online nonTwitter outlets: event listings. you can type Authors on the search box on top and find all the users. and so on.wefollow. Figure 6-3: WeFollow: A comprehensive Twitter user list. For example. These accounts fall into a sort of gray area on Twitter: Most of them are . ranked loosely by influence. newspapers’ Web sites. which not only lists popular Twitter accounts to follow. If you want. It also features the ability to sort and search for users based on tags. a number of third-party Twitter user directories have grown popular over the years. but ranks them as well. you can easily find the popular and prolific users who match the kind of Twitter stream you want to cultivate. Additionally. Just click the upper-right button and follow the instructions on-screen.
. Twitter users can get something off their chests and read the secrets of others. Interestingly. But either way.Chapter 6: Who’s Using Twitter quite welcome in the site’s community.com/harpers) ✓ Marvel Entertainment (http://twitter. make up some of Twitter’s most-followed accounts.com/newyorker) ✓ NPR (http://twitter.com/wired) 101 Tweeting in Unison Sometimes. SecretTweet gives Twitter users a place to share their deepest. in the case of news outlets such as The New York Times (@NYTimes) and CNN (@CNNBrk). Here are some news and media Twitter accounts you can check out: ✓ Harpers (http://twitter. like a giant Mad-Lib. SecretTweet has been called everything from addicting to brilliant to sad. @CNNBrk. Their newscasters not only use Twitter accounts to both interact with viewers and relay breaking news stories. though. This aggregated stream of tweets can incorporate anything from stories to poems to confessionals. Cable news outlet CNN has nailed it when it comes to using Twitter for more than just headline syndication. users or organizations create a Twitter account so that the community can feed it with updates.com/nprnews) ✓ Wired News (http://twitter. tiny stories told in 140 characters. CNN’s most followed account. darkest secrets on Twitter’s public timeline without divulging their identities. and. but anchor Rick Sanchez (@CNNRickSanchez) fields questions from Twitter followers in real time on his on-air program. One of the first of these community Twitter accounts was 140Story (@140story). Rick Sanchez Direct. James Cox (@imajes) who later worked cooperatively with CNN and eventually sold it to them for an undisclosed amount. these co-authored accounts gather the content from many Twitter users. was developed by a fan. But no list of community Twitter accounts would be complete without SecretTweet (@secrettweet). These community-created Twitter accounts can be automated (through the use of a script or bot) or moderated. Similar to the popular Web site PostSecret (@postsecret). letting Twitter really enhance its broadcasts. and the rest of the Twitter community can subscribe and follow the results.com/marvel) ✓ The New Yorker (http://twitter. sometimes anonymously. Other Twitter accounts have popped up that aggregate tweets into short stories.
The @shakeshack bot is regularly used to report the length of the line. a burger joint in Madison Square Park. People who follow @shakeshack see the tweet and join their colleague. organize snow ball fights. The heart of Silicon Alley is designated by the Shake Shack. the @shakeshack bot was created. Big Community: NYC’s @shakeshack Small businesses wanting to use Twitter to build loyalty. Someone (say. saying: Via @jschwa I’m in line. @jschwa) decides to head to the Shake Shack and tweets @shakeshack I’m in line. and as part of the networking fabric of Silicon Alley (a nickname given to the area of Manhattan where a concentrated number of tech startups are located). Hundreds. For the curious and technically-inclined. To facilitate tweetups (impromptu meetings facilitated by Twitter). The @shakeshack bot then automatically retweets this message. social media. us/2008/04/anatomy-of-atwitter-bot. .absono. me. It is the favorite meeting place of NY-based tech startups to discuss business. if not thousands of NYC area twitterers are now more aware of the Shake Shack. the gentleman who implemented the @shakeshack bot (see figure). Here’s what Jason Schwartz (@jschwa). come join me for lunch 3. This is how it works: 1. come join me for lunch 2. one of New York City’s most social eateries. Lunchtime lines stretch around the Manhattan refuge for the fabled burgers and shakes. and it’s become a must-visit for Twitter enthusiasts when in NYC for meetings or pleasure.102 Part II: Joining Your Flock on Twitter Small Business. has to say about the Twitter community built by twittering fans of the Shake Shack. the code for the @shakeshack bot can be found here: http://smr. and how to push the medium forward. who is likely close to ordering by the time they arrive. take note.
Part III Twittering in High Gear .
we kick it up a notch. In this part. . . such as third-party applications and mobile updating. more rewarding. .I In this part . f you’re reading this part. you’ve probably already established a bit of a presence on Twitter and have some friends and followers. and more accessible for you. We go over the tools and tricks that can make your Twitter experience more efficient.
the more you’ll notice how complex the potential uses of this deceptively simple service have become. T Following Twitter Protocol Many Twitter neophytes want to know what the rules are or whether Twitter has standard protocol and etiquette. We help you figure out what tends to be more effective and what tends to not go over well on Twitter. . But. Because Twitter was a favorite of Silicon Valley’s new-media elite long before it broke into the mainstream. companies. however they have since become part of the lexicon. creating a whole new culture in the process.Chapter 7 Tricks of the Twitter Gurus In This Chapter ▶ Minding your Twitter manners ▶ Adding links to your Twitter updates ▶ Exploring your Twitter activity ▶ Tweeting like a pro with shorthand codes he more you use Twitter. plus ways to be efficient. standards. and culture that have developed on Twitter as well as some hints to better enhance your Twitter. some insider jokes and conventions used can be confusing. and tricks over time while you’re tweeting. though. we provide an overview of protocol. each twitterer has a slightly different way of using Twitter. In this chapter.com literacy. Twitter sprang from a close-knit group of early adopters who set the rhythm. you’re going to come up with your own rules. Like many other social media sites. Longtime users have certainly fallen into certain habits or sets of rules. Twitter is what you make of it and you are free to do your own thing. etiquette. remember. and all sorts of everyday Twitter users are discovering their voices on Twitter. Keep in mind. Yet at the same time. Celebrities.
social-media sites such as Facebook. for example. com/terms. Twitter has a Terms of Service (TOS) agreement that all members must adhere to or risk having their accounts suspended or deleted. If you know you plan to. Don’t like the contents? Turn the dial. Don’t take them too seriously: Twitter itself just isn’t that rigid. The terms are actually more liberal than most Web services’ regulations. advice and back-seat tweeting from the handful of people on Twitter who aren’t comfortable without rules. whereas others complain that their contacts don’t tweet enough.) ✓ Some users take issue with strings of @replies and wonder why those conversations weren’t conducted in a private forum. You can access Twitter’s terms at http://twitter. sync up your Twitter account with your Facebook account so that your tweets appear as your Facebook status message. (This complaint is a little silly.106 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Like any other social-media company. You won’t find anything particularly surprising in them: You must be at least 13 years old to create an account and use the service. belonging to an aspiring comedian pretending to be actor Christopher Walken. say. ✓ You may encounter confusing. Twitter posts and feeds get exported outside of Twitter and onto Twitter-based Web sites. just use Twitter how it suits you. Other than that. but no more or less so than you’re expected to be in the real world — just keep in mind that Twitter is a public forum. (We cover this a bit more in the next chapter. do keep in mind that Twitter keeps tabs on “deceptive” activity: Twitter can and will ban accounts that impersonate celebrities or companies if those accounts don’t make it clear that they’re unofficial or parodies. Your Twitter community will help define your standard. Be polite on Twitter. Use a third-party tool. you can’t really use Twitter in a right or wrong way because no two people use it for exactly the same reasons. and so on. This policy is a contentious point in the Twitter community: Many members were upset when the @cwalken account. Beyond the simple regulations. aren’t banned. for the most part. But some members certainly have their opinions: ✓ Some users complain when others tweet too often. and aggregators such as FriendFeed. keep in mind that you’re branching out beyond the Twitter community and culture. blogs. Twitter etiquette is simple: Be genuine and nondeceptive and provide value. was deleted from the system. they’re more like guidelines). pornography and explicit language. But. you can’t spam other members or participate in activities that break any laws. even conflicting. Consider this an unofficial code of conduct (although. Unsubscribe. you can’t engage in abuse or harassment.) . Beyond the terms of service.
not to mention loads of subcultures and sub-communities. Many application and Web site names have adopted Twitter-speak words for products and services associated with Twitter or which tap into Twitter’s application programming interface (API) to use Twitter data. whether you plan to use goofy Twitter-speak or not. tweetup. phrases. At first.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus Although users love Twitter’s largely rule-free nature. Twitter is no exception to that rule. Twitter’s lexicon has evolved over time to include unique words. (See our point?) Not all members are fans of corny terms such as tweeple. We purposely didn’t include in this glossary some of the nonsense words that begin with the tw. and beginning to use them more often may be the first sign that you’re a twitterholic! . For example. it looks like baby talk — and indeed. tweeple. twinfluence. you see a lot of puns involving the word “Twitter. But new users often find these references confusing. Just because you see an unfamiliar term doesn’t mean it’s part of the Twitter vernacular. and so on. Twitterers don’t widely use them.or twi. in fact. the word twinfluence was used casually to describe (no shock here) the kind of social influence that individual Twitter users had within the Twitter community. Right off the bat. 107 Language and abbreviations Over time. Eventually. an application that gets its data from Twitter and turns it into a report that estimates Twitter users’ power and influence. For Twitter terms you should be familiar with. You can ease your transition into the culture of Twitter by getting familiar with these behaviors and speech tendencies before you first start out. by knowing your way around the following Twitter customs. Establish dedication and credibility early on. it does help to know what this stuff means. in part. any group of people that interacts regularly falls into its own “vernacular” way of talking. it can get a bit over-the-twop. many avid users actually find them rather annoying. Plenty of eccentric people use Twitter. and abbreviations that most regular users understand and recognize.com).added to the front: tweet. Either way. check out the glossary at the back of this book. some generally accepted behaviors have evolved over time.” with the prefixes tw. or an easy and obvious way to delineate something as Twitter-specific. it may be even more subject to it because of the 140-character limit. Others think the Twitter-specific language is fun.prefix. the slang term was used to name twInfluence (www.
Don’t worry. you will start to connect with others who share your interests. While you sift through the Twitter conversation.twitter. So. often unconsciously. after all. Your early days on Twitter will probably be pretty quiet when it comes to replies and conversation. how much is too much or too little? How often should you tweet? . don’t be shy about clicking the usernames that you see (as in @replies) and writing to strangers offering your own opinion. even if you don’t know them (yet). If you have something interesting to say. we think your Twitter experience will become a lot more fruitful if you do. Use http://search. you don’t just want to sit back and watch the stream flow by — you want to genuinely interact with people. Some Twitter users are considered noisy because they tweet so much. or passions.com to look for some of the most obscure keywords related to your work. Interested? Follow them. over time. (Okay — you don’t absolutely have to engage people on Twitter. they will. but if you’re adding to the conversation. It’s not like other social networks where you’re really only expected to connect to folks you already know. whereas others can come across as standoffish because they don’t tweet frequently. But. your tweets still appear in Search. hobbies. and other Twitter users can spot them. It may take some time through several conversations before the chatting users include you in their conversation. do not be shy about finding people who share your interests. people will begin to notice you. You have to know how to listen as much as know how to converse (this goes twice for businesses) — but it always boils down to engagement. But even if you don’t @reply. Whether you use Twitter for business or fun. after a few of your tweets appear in the timeline and you add a few contacts to your network. Then click through to the profiles of the people who wrote the tweets you find.) First and foremost. Tweeting frequency Twitter users tend to settle into a rhythm of tweeting frequency. You’ll be amazed how good an idea you get of someone just by glancing at their last 20 tweets. All those twitterers are just getting to know you. the name of the game is engagement. If you seek out and use relevant keywords and #hashtags.108 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Engaging others on Twitter On Twitter. people start to reply to your tweets.
not at them.com) automatically shorten a link into a shorter set of numbers and letters that forwards to the original link and can cut the link’s length down by as much as 70 or 80 percent. You most likely find yourself tweeting much more often than that. too. say. If conversation and engagement are your aim.ly by default on its Web site. As of this writing. For example. Sites such as is. engage. Twitter and services like it have heightened the need to save space when linking. you definitely want to keep a human voice in your Twitter stream at all times. and value-adding pace. A roaring chat with friends you already know is a fine use of Twitter. Visit one of the other shortening sites for ways to shorten URLs in advance. or even other tweets.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus A good rule when you’re starting out is to post at least four or five tweets per day. If you’re using Twitter for your business. for every link of your own that you place on Twitter. and converse. or you plan to link to your products or posts on your personal blog. bit. blog entries. four or five should get you going at a good. 23 percent of tweets contain links. find a balance between the number of tweets that promote yourself and the number of tweets that provide value. The URL shortener is a tool that was designed to manage exceptionally long URLs so that they would not “break” in e-mail and so that they’re easier to copy and paste.gd). In short: talk with people. and would involve many more tweets a day than.ly).ly (http:// bit. so many of the links you post will be shortened for you but it’s done after the fact. It’s worth thinking about who you want to reach. and budurl (http://budurl. so you don’t get to use the full 140 characters. but if you aren’t yet fully comfortable with it. You can insert links to Web pages. People new to Twitter and only following a few get bowled over by frequent tweeters simply because it’s all they see on their stream. You might think of this balance as an actual ratio. Link shortening has become so common that many main-stream Web sites offer their own short URLs to make it easier for people .gd (http://is. 109 Inserting Links into Your Tweets Virtually all Twitter users incorporate links into their tweets on a regular basis — by one estimate. unobtrusive. The toughest part of including these links is getting them to fit in the 140-character limit while leaving yourself room to say something about why you’re sending the link out in the first place. a business user or someone just figuring out what they want to do with the platform. send out at least five tweets that inform. Twitter uses bit.
and you’ll get something like this — http://bit. visit http://bit. and who’s currently talking about it. The New York Times.nytimes.ly as your URL shortener is its built-in analytics. These URLs are often followed by a stream of random characters that are completely made-up. such as a headline or a hook that tells them why they might want to click.ly will take you to an analytics dashboard.com/2010/03/31/us/31keywest.ly’s Shorten form. For example. but they save precious character space for comment.ly. your Twitter followers don’t know why they should click it). and Flickr.ly and budurl. when they clicked on it. Most important is to remember to include a short reason for the link (otherwise. and their stream is enjoyable to read. such as bit. Take any URL (say. This is a real art. this link http://nyti. uses http://flic. It’s context. If you want to link specifically to one specific tweet. for instance. how they’re clicking on it. which can help adjust what you push to your network over time. in some cases. Short-URL analytics Shorteners. place that URL into bit. a link to this book on Amazon. Try it! http://bit. the photosharing Web site. It’s also nice to give credit to a fellow tweeter by typing @username if you’re sharing someone else’s tweets or links. first click the day and time at the end of the tweet itself to go to the permalink page for that tweet. ms/. One nice thing about using bit. rather than to a user’s account. uses http://nyti. showing you how many people clicked through or.ly/info/17Mw1s+ .ly/17Mw1s — which you can then use in place of the long URL (see Figure 7-1). add a +-sign after it and bit. Some of the most popular tweeters have large followings because they’re good at this.com). retweeted your link. for example. It can be critical in understanding whether or not people are responding to the content you’re sharing.html (52 characters). Typing @ followed by a Twitter username automatically links to that Twitter account Profile page so that you can see more about who that person is. You can then copy that link into a tweet of your own. If you want to see how that link is doing and how many clicks it’s getting.110 Part III: Twittering in High Gear to refer to their sites.kr/. giving you a history of who’s clicking on that link. also track how your link did.ms/ceAG8Z (21 characters) resolves to http://www.
http://budURL. especially if you’re a frequent tweeter. and http://3.php): A service that can pull Twitter history for any username. But you can get your whole history from Twitter in a few ways: ✓ TweetScan (www. you may find it a challenge. . and if you’ve been on Twitter since it first hit the streets in 2006. Beyond bit. Unfortunately. and it’s worth spending a few minutes to figure out which one will work best for you.ly. gs.ly for HootSuite).Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus 111 Figure 7-1: Bit. TweetScan only goes back to December 2007. Some are even built into desktop and mobile Twitter applications and are unique to them (like ow.com/data.gd. there are literally dozens of URL shorteners out there. Joined since then? You can get your entire Twitter history. Using Your Twitter History and Favorites If you want to access your Twitter history after you use the service for a while. check out http://cli. Of note.ly.tweetscan.ly analytics on your URL. you probably want to go back farther.com. http://is.
Aggregators simply combine your Twitter feed together with any feeds you might have on other social sites. You may find using an outside tool a little more inconvenient than the Favorites feature at first. Do you share photos on Flickr? Then there is a feed of your pictures. ✓ Profile page: You can use the old-school way of seeing your Twitter history by going to your Twitter Profile page and clicking the More button over and over again until you see the tweet you’re looking for. This approach definitely takes some time.112 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ✓ Twistory (www.com). (And if you really just want the one tweet. bookmark your favorites by using a tool such as Delicious (http://delicious. . but you can find the tweets that you mark in more than one way later.com).com). we show how Lists can help find you new people to follow. Some people even do Favorite Tweets Roundup posts on their blogs every few days.twitter. save your history. which you can do much more easily by using a bookmarking service. you may notice that you’ve followed quite a few accounts and are looking for a better way to manage the content flooding through your Twitter. and Twitter’s team hasn’t said anything about creating a means to do this search. we articulate how Lists can be a valuable tool to reign in your Twitter experience. or FriendFeed.com) might be a lot easier. so be careful!) ✓ Aggregator: If you’re a new Twitter user. One of Twitter’s newer features.twistory. you might feel overwhelmed by so many tweets crammed into such a small space. but here. Instead of using the Twitter Favorites feature. lets you do just that. Lists. though. such as Delicious. It’s kind of like double posting. In Chapter 5. Shareaholic (www. for insurance purposes.net): A cool little application that imports your Twitter history into the Web-based Google Calendar app so that you can view your tweets like a diary.com feed. you can have an aggregator.shareaholic.com) or SocialThing (http://socialthing. though your tweets disappear from Twitter’s search after a while. Creating Lists As you start using Twitter more frequently. You can also keep track of some tweets by marking them as favorites with the little star icon on the Web interface. searching (http://search. Videos on YouTube? Same thing. If you tweet a lot. such as FriendFeed (http://friendfeed. A drawback to favoriting tweets is that you can’t search within them on Twitter.
113 . Log in. and it’s a handy way to make lists on the fly. To add a user to your newly-created List. and mark it as private or public. and – presto! – your friend is now on your List. you can get a better sense of who this person is and why people have chosen to follow and list him. you see a Lists section below the Search section. some of our favorite uses for lists are to make sure the important people in our lives aren’t lost in the noise. Although this way works for you if you’re creating a list around a searchable criteria (like if you were building a list of microsharing not-for-profits or professional tennis players). Instead. it’s your quieter. you can separate those out from the noise. Between the news agencies.) Click Create List and you’re taken to a page where you can search for users to add to your list. com/gruen) and see the people who have listed him. are accessible to everyone on Twitter. Well. their Listed count goes up by one. Private lists are for your eyes only: not even the people on the list know they’re on it. But. Creating a list is easy. click New List. just set your list to private. a description (“These are my friends who I haven’t met on Twitter”). (That is. In fact. Nobel Laureates. on the other hand. say a list of TV personalities. Public lists. That initial list we created was a private list. they’ll probably appreciate it. For example. more personal friends who are probably the tweets that deserve your individual attention. you might want to spend some time going through your existing Following page and categorize some of the people you’re following. if you think he’s interesting.) Click the check box next to the list name. For now. click the Lists icon on the right-side of the person you want to add. give it a name (“Friends before Twitter”). celebrities.com feed. along with a notification of what that list is called.) Now. and the generally prolific. and here’s why: Whenever you List someone on a public list. From here. You can also create themed lists. That will work exactly the same way. Say you want to keep tabs on people you think are Interesting. but you can see how other Twitter users have chosen to list him. click on the Following link in your sidebar to get to the page detailing the people you follow. You probably noticed that you can also create lists right from that dropdown. or Billionaires. (We go over the differences between public and private in a bit. it’s a bit clunky if you’re trying to manage your friends. you could create an “Interesting People” list and add @gruen to that list. (The Lists button is to the left of the Gear button.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus One thing you might notice is that your less Internet-happy friends get lost in the wash of your Twitter. and in the side column within your main page. you notice not only that “Interesting People” has him listed. On the bottom. of course. by creating lists. when you browse to @gruen’s profile page (twitter.
followed by the list name. and you might burn a bridge in the process. you’ll need to follow him and get authorization to follow his tweets in order to get his updates on the list page. and Michael’s collective antics. you could follow the @dummies/authors list. Our tweets will only reside in that list unless you explicitly follow us. Notice that those lists are constructed strangely: they contain the user’s name. For these reasons. Add them accordingly. automatically follow each one of us individually or collectively. if you wanted to follow Laura. like users. however. if a member of a list has protected his tweets. com/dummies/authors). For example.” your boss may or may not approve of your listing her on that list. Additionally. followed by a forward slash. By clicking on the Follow this List button. Leslie. you can follow that list. (http://twitter. lists have their own profile pages and. GeoLocation If you’d like. This is because. She might be inclined to block you and your list from following her. you can tweet on-location and demonstrate that you are where you say you are! One of Twitter’s newer features is the ability to add location data to your tweet. and a link to that page will show up under your Lists section in your own landing page’s sidebar. If you create a list called “Funny while intoxicated. It’s on the upper-right corner of the list’s main feed. When choosing whether or not to follow someone. Although it’s not terribly exciting while you’re sitting at . Then again. like users.114 Part III: Twittering in High Gear You need not follow users to add them to lists! Just visit their profile page and find the List button. can be followed. it’s best you keep your list names innocuous. To unfollow a list. return to that list page and find the Unfollow link. having been listed under relevant or interesting lists can help a user’s credibility and identity on Twitter. your boss might find that hysterical (even when not intoxicated) so you need to use your best judgment. that list can be found on the user’s profile page on the side column under Lists. Following lists Whenever anyone creates a public list. You won’t.
twitter. com/ dummies/ status/ 11329 511402 . When Foursquare forwards that information to post onto Twitter. you’ll be able to click on the location part of the tweet and see the map. and where it happened.com and sign-in. (We cover third-party applications in Chapter 8. If you have an iPhone. Alternatively. like a timestamp. the location information will be embedded into the tweet data. how it happened. the mobile checkin application Foursquare (foursquare. For example. If you visit that tweet’s URL (http://twitter. Twitter mobile clients (and the mobile.com/dummies/ status/11329511402). visit mobile. as shown.com) lets you tell both Foursquare friends and Twitter followers where you are at any time you want to let them know. http:// twitter. Immediately under the Tweet prompt. 115 Figure 7-2: A locationbased Tweet.) On the bottom of the tweet in Figure 7-2. add your location information to your tweet. at your option.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus your desk and using the Web version of Twitter. notice an option to turn on location information.twitter. there are a number of third-party applications that use the Twitter API and can report on information. Twitter tells you some information about that tweet: when it happened.com site) can.
is at http://twitter. Depending on what RSS reader you use.com/home.116 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Erasing your tracks If you find yourself needing to get rid of your location information for whatever reason. 2. every Twitter account has an RSS feed associated with it. you need to log into the API (see Figure 7-3). navigate to http://twitter. @dummies. 2. Either click the Twitter logo in the upper-left corner or the Home link in the upper-right corner of any Twitter page.com/dummies. If you’ve protected your updates. Navigate to your Twitter Home screen. You can find this link near the end of the content on the right sidebar. To wipe all location-data from your tweets: 1. Navigate to a user’s Twitter page. you see a page to subscribe to that feed.com. Everyone’s Feeds We talk more about RSS feeds and what you can do with them in Chapter 8. First. but we want to introduce a couple of different feeds that you can access and subscribe to right from Twitter. 3. or if you’re already logged in. Click the RSS Feed of @dummies’s Updates link. To access the RSS feed: 1. Scroll down to Tweet Location. Twitter can strip the location information out of all your tweets. Click the Settings navigation link along the top. Our account. Find the Delete All Location Information link and click it. Good luck. If you want to access one single RSS feed with the tweets of everyone that you follow: 1. Your Feeds. 3. . My Feeds. It may take up to 30 minutes for Twitter to extricate yourself from your location history. You gain access to that user’s feed.
) The RSS logo appears nearby. Deciphering Twitter Shorthand Code The more you use Twitter. if your browser supports it. you can access an RSS feed of updates for everyone you follow. the more you’re going to want to find quicker ways to do things. 2. including porting them over to an RSS reader so that you can view a stream without having to visit Twitter. every page that has some sort of update stream has an RSS update feed associated with it. Twitter has included a number of shorthand codes that you can use to perform almost any action directly from the What .com. You can find this link near the end of the content on the right sidebar.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus 117 Figure 7-3: Logging into the API to access the RSS feed of a protected user. Click the RSS Feed link. We go over the more interesting points of what you can do with Twitter feeds in Chapter 8. Alternatively. (Scroll down until you find it. you can click the RSS icon inside the address bar in your browser to access the feed for that page. Conveniently. In fact. Now.
you can quickly add a twitterer to your feed just by sending an update to Twitter. Best bet? Use the actual message link on a person’s page to send them a direct message. So. be careful when using shorthand code! Making a typo when you want to send a direct (private) message can send an update to everyone who follows you. just in case. F – follow No matter what application or interface you use to tweet. Twitter’s cofounder and CEO. It’s smart to be particularly careful about sending sensitive information via direct messages. username is the username of the person whom you want to direct message. you might accidentally share something with everyone that you intended only a particular user to see. so you can frequently use direct messages to reach someone instantly even if you don’t have a cell number or if you know that he’s an active Twitter user who may not be online at the moment. As we talk about in Chapter 3. and message is any message that you want to send. Just send this message to Twitter: F ev Alternatively. if you want to tell us how great this book is. D – direct message You can send a direct message right from the Update box by using the following form: D username message In this message. Some make heavy use of this while traveling and at events and find it much easier to coordinate on the fly. At some point. Say that you decide to follow the updates of Evan Williams (@ev). you type in the What Are You Doing? box: D dummies I am really enjoying Twitter For Dummies! Thanks for the help! Many users opt to have direct messages sent straight to their cellphones via SMS and/or e-mail. These codes are particularly useful when you’re working from a mobile phone by sending your tweets to 40404 (or your local short code) using the Twitter SMS (Short Message Service) gateway. you can type the word follow to do the exact same thing: follow ev .118 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Are You Doing? box.
you both follow them and opt in to receive their individual device updates (only when your account is set to receive device updates). Fav – favorite a tweet If something someone just tweeted made you laugh (say. On/Off The commands On and Off control whether or not your entire account will receive device updates (SMS texts on your phone). You can use the On command to turn device updates on for your account. you can favorite that tweet by sending an update to Twitter: fav dummies If you’re receiving updates on your cellphone. our @dummies account).Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus When you add someone using the follow or f command. You will not receive any device updates until you turn them back on using On. The difference between this command and all other commands is that there is no space between it and the username of the person you want to reach. To turn them Off. you can use the Off command twice: ✓ To silence updates to your cellphone: Send Twitter the update off. ✓ To silence updates and direct messages to your cellphone: Send the update off a second time. Want to say something to Leslie? Write @leslie hiya! Twitter makes sure that the message ends up in Leslie’s Mentions tab. 119 @ – reply We cover how to reply to users in Chapters 3 and 5. you connect only via the Web site. When you follow them using the Web site Follow button or most Twitter clients. but the @ symbol is really a shorthand for referencing another Twitter user. sending fav by itself adds the last update you received to your Favorites tab on your Home screen. . not also via SMS device updates.
in that it works only for people who receive their tweets as SMS updates. don’t sweat it if it doesn’t make sense to you. If you sent stats from your cellphone. Web celebrity iJustine (@iJustine) does this to find her real friends among the people she follows. Sometimes message and nudge links are both visible.120 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Receiving SMS updates on your phone . from everyone Getting Twitter updates as SMS messages right on your phone has its advantages and disadvantages. Stats If you ever want to know how many followers you have and how many users you’re following. . or doing whatever it does when it receives a text message. only message. send the update stats. vibrating. Twitter displays a message at the top of the screen letting you know. other times. your mobile phone might never stop beeping. Obviously . For one thing. . and quite possibly only for people who have specifically signed up for your device updates. If you can’t see nudge. But frequently you can see nudge and still nothing at all happens when you click it. But what if you tried following the device updates of every single person you’re connected to on Twitter? The command is simply follow all If you’re following a large number of people who update frequently. Nudge Do you have a friend who hasn’t updated in a while? Send her a message asking her to let everyone know what she’s doing: nudge username Nudge is a funny little feature. If you’re online. which can be cool. Twitter sends you a text message with your stats in it. So. Look at the Twitter Profile page for anyone that follows you. it lets you choose to remain much more closely up-to-date with a small subset of your Twitter connections. Plenty of active users of Twitter — probably most — have never used nudge. the person obviously can’t be nudged. Definitely don’t try the Follow All command unless you already have unlimited texting.
Want to see Michael’s latest tweet? Send to Twitter get gruen And Twitter will report back with Michael’s last tweet. On/Off username turns device updates on and off for individual users. already displayed. where they are. On will also connect you to people on Twitter. Like leave.com/pistachio). Like follow. Laura’s). However. On/Off username Not to be confused with On/Off (see the earlier section). Stats was a little more meaningful with Track because it also reminded you what words you were tracking. we find this example particularly ironic as nobody really “gets” him.com so that you’re following their updates. those text messages that some twitterers receive on their phones. of course. Leave username simply turns off the individual’s device updates. it does not unfollow that person on Twitter. Leave Leave seems like it would be the opposite of follow. but it’s not. At least. and her current bio from her Profile page (http://twitter. Whois If you want to get someone’s profile information quickly (say. but it doesn’t unfollow the username account. . 121 Get The Get command allows you to quickly view the last update from a user. use the Whois command: whois pistachio Twitter sends you a message that contains the user’s proper name (Laura Fitton). not quite.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus this makes a lot more sense than viewing stats on the Web page. the Off username command stops device updates. how long she’s been on Twitter (since April 2007).
http://help.twitter. On/Off username has no unique functionality that is different from Follow/Leave. you’ll literally have to log into your Twitter account and redo the steps to add your cellphone to your account.com invite 212 555 1212 Twitter sends either an e-mail or SMS to that person to let her know that you’ve invited her to use Twitter. even if they didn’t follow the person posting the update. if you were a Battlestar Galactica fan. . These commands are probably not the best options to quiet your phone. For a recent list of Twitter commands. For example. browse to Twitter’s Help forums by clicking the help link at the top of every Twitter page. Quit and Stop Quit and Stop discontinue all service between Twitter and your cellphone. no matter who mentioned it. . it has commands that come and go. Of note. and codes may go . you’d send the update track Battlestar Galactica to get every mention of that show. sent to your Twitter Home screen. . They’re handy though if you accidentally lock your phone into a separate account by sending join to 40404 after you already have an account.122 Part III: Twittering in High Gear In other words. If used. Codes may come. you may still see some older Twitter users lamenting the loss of the Track feature. At time of print. followed by her e-mail address or mobile phone number: invite friend@example. Invite Do you want to invite someone to Twitter? Send the Invite command.com/forums/10711/entries/14020 has the most accurate list of Twitter commands. The Track series of commands enabled users to receive updates containing a keyword the user was tracking. Because Twitter is a living application. They opt your cellphone number out of Twitter altogether.
123 . From the Search home page.twitter. products. you’d rather stick to using the Web interface. Although Track would still be a nice feature to have. you can use the built-in saved searches for up-to-the-minute tracking on your favorite topics. Browse to Twitter Search. You can scroll to the bottom of any Twitter page and click the Search link or just go to http://search. showing the results for all mentions of the term you want to track. timeframes. Search offers advanced features to fine-tune what you want to keep track of.Chapter 7: Tricks of the Twitter Gurus Unfortunately. A screen appears. See the next chapter for more details on using those. required keywords. click Advanced Search and add parameters like sender. but you can still get the scoop by using Twitter Search in a similar way: 1. If. Enter the search term you want to track in the text box and click Search. Remember. or categories. brands. We discuss this in Chapter 5. and even “emotional sentiment” of the tweets you want to see.com. Twitter removed the Track feature. optional keywords. recipient. however. many third-party clients including this functionality directly within their offering. You have the option of subscribing to an RSS feed for the search terms — a great idea if you’re a business user and want to monitor mentions of your name. 2.
124 Part III: Twittering in High Gear .
and friends you connect with on Twitter — everywhere. Because of the many ways that users can access and share Twitter on the Web.com.rentwiki. and you’ll see Twitter has become a staple on popular social-networking sites and a standard sidebar feature on many blogs. When you realize how you can access Twitter from anywhere.com) to live widgets on major media sites like ABC.com. Mobile applications and text messages give on-the-go users the ability to update their timeline and access their network. or onto your mobile device. from tweets about specific neighborhoods on RentWiki (www. as well as @barackobama staffers reiterating his important points live through his Twitter account. you’re bound to discover many interesting and useful things it can do for you. E-mail and RSS feeds also allow you to pipe your Twitter stream into your favorite RSS reader or e-mail. You can literally take Twitter — and the information. you can discover it in all sorts of useful places.com during President Obama’s 2009 and 2010 State of the Union addresses. we show you how you can use Twitter without having to browse to Twitter. you’re bound to discover ways to make it even more useful to you.com In This Chapter ▶ Taking Twitter on the go ▶ Sending your tweets through e-mail and to RSS ▶ Using third-party Twitter applications ▶ Using Open Authentication ▶ Sharing tweets on social networks and blogs ▶ Tweeting even when you’re unavailable by using auto-tweets ou can easily get attached to Twitter simply because once you really get started. Y . Look around the Web. Because the Twitter platform is so flexible. In this chapter. ideas. you can almost do everything you want with Twitter without needing to visit Twitter.Chapter 8 Twitter Minus Twitter.
you want to first make sure that your cellphone plan encompasses unlimited texting. It’s not all-or-nothing.twitter. Via text messaging Although text messaging (or SMS) is the most basic way to access Twitter via your cellphone. you can receive your contacts’ tweets on your phone via SMS. (Turn to Chapter 2 for instructions on how to associate your cellphone with your Twitter account. click on the Mobile tab. Setting this up takes a little more work. Otherwise. In addition to sending tweets as SMS messages from your phone.com) if you have a Web browser on your cellphone ✓ Downloadable applications for BlackBerry. and to find the latest Twitter tools. on the Settings page. but Twitter’s maximum is 140 characters. think long and hard about how noisy you want your phone to be each day. you can easily use SMS to update Twitter on the go.) One caveat: The maximum length for a standard text message is 160 characters. First. You have to manually verify that you aren’t going over the Twitter limit because otherwise.com). Android. Most Twitter users find that they can handle between 10 and 20 peoples’ tweets being sent to their phone before the constant incoming text stream becomes overwhelming. Luckily. Check before you enable SMS updates! After you make sure that you can afford your mobile texting plan. Open your own Home screen and. Windows Mobile. . Twitter cuts off your SMS tweet at 140 characters. and iPhone smartphones Literally dozens of applications come out for Twitter every couple of months. You can use Twitter on your mobile device in three ways: ✓ SMS (text messages) to and from 40404 (or your country’s short code) ✓ Twitter’s mobile Web site (http://m.126 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Tweeting with Your Cellphone Many twitterers use the service almost exclusively on their mobile phones. your monthly bill may end up skyrocketing.oneforty. For more information. check out Laura’s Twitter directory and marketplace oneforty (www. even power users like iJustine (@iJustine) have discovered that they can take advantage of SMS tweets to their phone by being really selective about whose actual tweets they get via SMS. To receive tweets from your contacts on your cellphone: 1.
com/software/twitterrific).infinitum software.com/seesmic_mobile/android) seem to be the favorites. or a number of other third-party mobile Web sites like Hahlo.com on your computer. and was recently purchased by Twitter). TinyTwitter (http://tinytwitter. ✓ For BlackBerry: Blackberry has released its own Twitter client. Green means on. or opt-out entirely of text notifications.twitroid. com).com) and Seesmic (seesmic. .tinytwitter. Twobile (www. 4.com/tweetie-iphone. or PDA that has Web capabilities.CAB). Go to each of those Twitter users’ profiles and select (toggle) the mobile updates button to turn their notifications on or off. ✓ For Windows Mobile: PocketTwit (http://code. 2. Decide how you want to receive mobile updates.co. TinyTwitter (www.skydrive. clients — whatever works for you. TwitterFon (http://twitterfon.com/self. Twitterrific (http://iconfactory. TwitToday (http://dalelane. Twitula (http:// cid-eda3c1275909727a.com/products/openbeak). These people can be anyone — friends. BlackBerry. For other options. http://m. Make a list of people whose tweets you really want to receive directly as SMS messages on your phone.uk/page. ✓ For Android Devices: Twitroid (www. directly under the username’s icon on his or her profile page.com/ Twittelator).com Find the section marked Device Updates.stone. 3. pretty much the way you use Twitter.live.com). 127 Via smartphones or PDAs If you have a smartphone.orangatame. and OpenBeak (www. family. Twitter allows you to take updates on your phone. and gray means off.). you can use Twitter’s mobile Web site.com/ twitter.php?id=1047).atebits.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter.com.twitter.net). The mobile updates button is a gray or green circle with a mobile phone on it. accessible via App World or on their website (http://blackberry. You can also download applications that allow you to use Twitter as an application on your phone. You can find several popular applications — these are just a sampling of what’s available for various devices: ✓ For iPhone: Tweetie 2 (www.com/p/ pocketwit). limit notifications to direct messages. influencers. Twittelator (www. we’ve liked Blackbird (http://dossy.google. org/twitter/blackbird).aspx/ Public/MobileApps/Twitula35.com/twobile). You can also send a tweet to turn individuals’ message notifications on or off (see Chapter 7).
file. These e-mails save quite a bit of time and hassle — you don’t have to try to remember who followed you and when. so please check the user guides for each application on how to opt-in. Those e-mails then wait for you to process more efficiently in batches. on location. and so forth. Select the Notices tab. how big your network is. each application lets you opt-in to this service. you may make it easy for people to find you or learn where you live. many at a time. when it’s convenient for you. Twitter sends you an e-mail that contains a link so that you can check out that user’s profile right away to see whether you want to follow him back.128 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Play around with the applications’ options a bit until you find one you like best. click Settings at the top of the screen. They’re all a little bit different. or tag certain messages received. You can also set up your Twitter account so that direct messages are sent to your e-mail inbox: 1. Location! Location! Location! One great advantage to becoming a mobile Twitter user is the ability to livetweet from wherever you are. use whatever options your e-mail client (or Web service) provides to search. Many Twitter clients for mobile — including the mobile. To the best of our knowledge. and they have varying advantages based on how you use Twitter. When you’re tweeting your location.com site for iPhone — allow for locationbased information to be sent along with your tweets. Setting up a mail filter to segment those notifications outside of your normal e-mail inbox can be really useful. The Settings screen appears. be sure that you remember that your digital footprint is telling a story about you and your daily habits! So. 2. Adding location to your tweets is a fun and useful feature. If you don’t have the time or the need to follow back your new followers right away. . On your Home page. See Chapter 7 for more information on the Twitter mobile site. how often you tweet. Using Twitter through Your E-Mail When someone new starts following you. just be careful. and though location-based technology isn’t pin-point accurate yet.twitter.
some developers have used the API to come up with e-mail clients for Twitter. Both of these Web applications enable you to interact with users and update Twitter directly from your e-mail address. Two of our favorites include Topify (www. Even if you’re receiving direct notifications through Twitter and your mobile phone.com). By always having a copy in your e-mail inbox. it has no mechanism that allows you to send updates. you may also want to get them by e-mail. or direct messages directly via e-mail. check the Email When I Receive a New Direct Message check box. Most modern e-mail applications.) To work around this limitation.com (http://twittercounter. shown in Figure 8-1. replies. shown in Figure 8-2. which can be a problem. including Webmail software. . Although Twitter can send you e-mails.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. and Twittermail at TwitterCounter. Next to Direct Text Emails. Otherwise there is no way to search your direct messages.com [or mobile Twitter] where you can send Twitter info. you can much more easily retrieve and find a direct message that you receive. 129 Figure 8-1: Topify offers enhanced Twitter notifications and e-mailbased replies.com 3. (But they do provide a link in the e-mail that you can click to open pages at Twitter. allow you to search through your mail.com/pages/twittermail). topify.
Really Simple Syndication is a format for delivering dynamic Web content — blogs. and multimedia — in a standard. Topify and Twittermail ask for your Twitter username and password.130 Part III: Twittering in High Gear As with many third-party Web applications. Swimming Your Twitter Stream with RSS Feeds If you want to keep tabs on your Twitter network without logging into Twitter. including Twitter. easy-to-read format (called feeds). news stories. just don’t use it! Luckily. OAuth holds the promise of letting you give third-party applications limited permission to function with your account without giving away your password and the ability to access everything about your account. you can use RSS (Really Simple Syndication) to pull in your Twitter stream like it’s a blog. but integrates Twitter with your e-mail inbox. You often find RSS on blogs and news sites. can use RSS. RSS isn’t a Web site or a Web page: It’s a raw data feed for the content on a Web page or Web site. . If you don’t think you can trust a site with your credentials. but any site that has live and updating content.com. Figure 8-2: Twittermail looks like Twitter.
aggregates RSS feeds. the Everyone page (the public timeline of all Twitter users).com) is a third-party application you can use to send RSS feeds to Twitter so that each item in the feed “posts” as a tweet. If you hover over the RSS icon in your browser (depending on which browser you use. which allows you to access your favorite Web content within a single destination and keep up with frequently updated sites. click the RSS button in the bottom-left of the sidebar and follow the specific instructions for your RSS reader. Twitter Search has RSS capabilities built in. Also. You can pull any search that you perform on Twitter Search into an RSS feed directly from the site. It turns out you can accomplish a lot by using this application: . which you can then read. and later versions of Internet Explorer) have RSS reading capabilities built in. Firefox.com/reader).Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. RSS is a fundamental part of Twitter because it allows users to share and access timelines from virtually anywhere on the Web. the gentleman credited with inventing RSS is on Twitter! Say hello to Dave Winer (@davewiner). To read direct messages. or another method. newsgator. By the way. text messages. Each user’s timeline has its own RSS feed. the location of this icon varies). refer to them. such as Google Reader or Bloglines. Within these applications. You can then add the feed address to your RSS reader of choice. Sending RSS feeds back to Twitter Twitter feed (http://twitterfeed. You can obtain an individual RSS feed address for your Home screen (the Twitter stream of all your friends). and more. catch up on many at once. it also displays the feed address. and your @username page — but not for your Direct Messages page. such as Newsgator’s NetNewsWire or FeedDemon (www. An RSS reader.google. which you can read via an RSS reader. as well as through desktop applications and mobile devices. you subscribe to an RSS feed.com Most modern browsers (such as Safari. 131 Grabbing RSS feeds If you have a smartphone that has RSS capabilities. To grab the RSS feed for your Home screen.com) or Google Reader (www. you have to rely on e-mail. but you likely want to use a dedicated application or Web site to handle your feeds because then you can go back later and search them. you can use that smartphone to get Twitter while you’re on the go.
too). we maintain a link blog of some of the best articles we can find about the business use of Twitter.delicious. Now everyone at the event can follow your single event account to see all the hashtagged tweets being shared.com and then grab the RSS feed from the Twitter search results page and feed it into the event’s account. but if you want to reach an international audience by sending your tweets in another language and you’re comfortable playing with advanced tools like Yahoo! Pipes (http://pipes. and ideas simply by following a Twitter stream. or native speakers will wonder why the writing is so awkward! Limit the number of times that you have to feed send messages to Twitter so that you don’t send too many tweets and irritate your followers. and then publish the stream to its own language-specific Twitter account by using Twitter feed. If you’re running an event and want everyone who plans to attend that event to be able to send a message to everyone else.com/touchbaseblog to track. ✓ Create and share a link blog. automatically translate it into a number of different languages. you can actually pull in a Twitter stream. But the entire world of Twitter is much more complex because its founders created a way for developers outside of the Twitter team to develop tools for their service. best practices. and share these articles. nothing more. search that hashtag on http://search. Just be sure to mention on that account bio that it’s automated. you can have Twitter feed pull in the RSS of your blog and send the title of the post and a link to Twitter (posting it as a tweet from your account). .com posts. We use www. articles. At Pistachio Consulting.yahoo. Note: This will work for any search term. ✓ Re-tweet hashtags. That way. You should also mention in the bio for the account if it is heavily — or completely — automated. You may find this feature particularly useful if you update your blog frequently. business users of Twitter can easily access up-to-date case studies.132 Part III: Twittering in High Gear ✓ Announce new blog posts. Be creative! ✓ Translate tweets automatically. and we direct the RSS for that Delicious account to @touchbase on Twitter (along with a feed to our http:// www. See the Pistachio Consulting account @ touchbase (for our blog and link blog) for a good example of being upfront about RSS-fed Twitter accounts. If you have a blog and want to promote each new post by using your Twitter account. This one is advanced.twitter. tag. Using Third-Party Services Twitter itself is extremely basic: 140-character updates.touchbaseblog.com/pipes).
When a company like Twitter opens their API. make sure that the app in question is reputable.tweetdeck. Developers who use Twitter’s API can’t access private data. Your options for third-party applications that help you use Twitter grow and change constantly. here are some of the current favorites: ✓ Twhirl (www.com 133 APIs: The key to twittering off of Twitter. good news is here. you can have some serious difficulty keeping track of your network without a little help. you may wonder whether APIs raise security concerns. More on this later in this chapter. In mid-2009. but after you start getting followers into the hundreds. OAuth allows you to authorize a thirdparty Web site or application to essentially log in as you and perform actions on your behalf without ever having your username or password. Both users and developers reap the benefits of this API in the form of fun new toys that let Twitter do even more cool stuff. no one yet has had to deal with a major scandal in which a Twitter app turned out to be a password-stealing scam. thankfully. which allows third-party developers to have access to some of Twitter’s code.com) ✓ Twitterrific (http://iconfactory.com) .org) ✓ TweetDeck (www. Before you hand over your information. but some very real security breaches have occurred. Facebook. and other online services already allow you to use open authentication. Twitter opened up its service by creating an application programming interface (API). With your password. These new creations are called third-party applications. a third-party application could look at your DMs.com/software/twitterrific) ✓ Digsby (www. You can easily follow your network on the Twitter Web site when you have only 50 followers. they allow other developers to look at their application’s code and make new products that complement or expand the original application.digsby.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. Flickr. Twitter released something called Open Authentication (OAuth). Arguably the best-known third-party applications built on Twitter are designed to make keeping up with your network easier. If you’re concerned about allowing third-party services to have your username and password. or to Web apps in general. and you should always be very careful about giving any password to anyone.com An application program interface (API) is basically a set of programming instructions and standards that developers can use to access a software application such as Twitter.twhirl. such as your password or direct messages. If you’re new to Twitter. But you still need to be cautious: Some third-party apps do ask that you log into Twitter by using your username and password. Basecamp by 37Signals.
when you choose to download an app that requires Adobe Air. stream of friends’ tweets.tv). as well as update your tweets. However. that sort of usage paradigm has huge security implications: You have to really trust the sites you give that kind of information to: With login information. the site owners and operators can then do anything they want with your user account. a free program that many of the applications are built on. There are many reasons why you’d want to do this: ✓ Manage multiple twitter accounts from one login screen ✓ Have your blog auto-tweet new blog posts from your blog ✓ Automatically backup your tweets . and other sites built on the Twitter API. Open Authentication – OAuth As Twitter has grown in popularity. Some avid Twitter users choose their third-party apps based on those apps’ compatibility with other social-media services that some twitterers also use. which allows you to authorize applications to use Twitter on your behalf. @replies.oneforty. but it is no longer. Also.friendfeed. Air also downloads automatically. which is why Laura created oneforty (www.com/downloads. Twitter unrolled Open Authentication.134 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Twitter used to provide a short list of third-party applications right on its Web site at http://twitter. but finding the best ones remains a problem. Thankfully. The Twitter fan wiki also attempts to index the growing ecosystem of applications. many third-party applications have cropped up to make your life easier. they can now easily get into your e-mail. Some of these applications requested your Twitter username and password to operate. because if someone has your login information to Twitter. Generally. be honest: How many of you used the same password for your Twitter account as your E-mail account? It’s a bad idea.com). Third-party applications such as Twhirl and Twitterrific provide more complex. customizable ways to sort through your Twitter network. in mid-2009. such as FriendFeed (www. Most of the downloadable third-party applications that you can use to view Twitter on your desktop require an additional download called Adobe Air. We cover these third-party tools in depth in Chapter 9. and direct messages. services.com) and 12Seconds (http://12seconds.
Twitter offers a Badges page at http://twitter. You see which applications have access to data in your Twitter stream. . You can use a badge to quickly and easily share Twitter with people outside the service. Although OAuth makes it easier to authenticate third-party applications with your Twitter experience.com ✓ Interface with an application like Foursquare (foursquare. FriendFeed. Ning. Social networks are those sites online where people can go to meet and stay in touch with new and old friends and colleagues. Some of the social networks you may use already include MySpace. where you can go to customize the look and feel of your badge for each network. for example. Twitter updates the badge each time you send a tweet. Navigate to your Settings page and then the Connections tab. This page also gives you instructions about how to embed the badge code.com/goodies/widgets. 1.com) to forward on your location to your friends ✓ Donate your status to a not-for-profit to help with their promotional campaigns You can revoke an application’s permissions at any time. and LinkedIn. you still ought to trust them before you give them access to your account. 135 Sharing Tweets All Around the Web Twitter’s a far-reaching service. applications that have access to your Twitter account are able to do whatever they want. Even with OAuth. Twitter makes a badge (or widget) that you can embed right onto your Profile page. which is also compatible with blog templates on platforms such as Blogger and WordPress so that your blog readers can see what you’re up to and connect with you on Twitter. Facebook. If you’re a MySpace user. Click on Revoke Access under the Connection to remove their permissions permanently (until you say it’s okay for them to be re-authenticated). Twitter itself is a social network. as shown in Figure 8-3. letting them know your status and what you’re up to on a daily basis. And — you guessed it — you can put your tweets on social networks. 2. but you can also pull your Twitter presence out onto the rest of the Web by using social-networking widgets (some of which are powered by RSS) and a few other nifty tweaks.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. After you put the badge code into your social-networking Profile page.
com widget on a blog. Services such as Ping. install the Twitter app on Facebook (http://facebook. all at the same time. such as MySpace and Facebook. MySpace and LinkedIn can connect with your Twitter account using OAuth and synchronize status messages between the services. the most popular social network in the States. in addition to Twitter. but it can get impersonal and alienate your followers. it’s not a bad idea to only share some of your tweets with your Facebook friends.com) allow you to send the same tweet or update to many social networks. . This service saves you the trouble of logging into each site separately.136 Part III: Twittering in High Gear If you prefer.fm (www. so please see the help pages on those respective sites for more information. MySpace and LinkedIn make it really easy to do. Use these services with caution! Figure 8-3: You can put the Twitter.fm) and HelloTxt (www.com/twitter). You can.ping. doesn’t let you embed code onto profiles. however.hellotxt. Facebook. which lets you choose to either display a badge on your profile or have your Twitter updates set as your status message on Facebook. Because some people on Facebook get confused when they see a lot of tweets out of context. You can share your tweets by using a special tag (see the Facebook Twitter app for instructions) in your tweets to designate which ones to also re-post to Facebook.
are also essentially automatically tweeting for you. You can autotweet by using one of a number of third-party applications built for that purpose. . You can schedule a post or two while you’re away from your computer.” earlier in this chapter). in our opinion.Chapter 8: Twitter Minus Twitter. Mostly. marketers use these applications. you may find TweetLater useful if you’re going on vacation or plan to be off the grid for some other reason. but these auto-tweet applications apply the API for a different purpose. and some Twitter users don’t like them because they undermine the spontaneity of Twitter by having things pre-scheduled (which. announcements you know about in advance and can plan for. However.com 137 Auto-Tweeting Auto-tweeting is exactly what it sounds like: automated tweets. such as SocialOomph (www. Some auto-tweet applications. It’s also useful for businesses. allow you to schedule tweets in advance.socialoomph. just to check in and remind your Twitter network that you may be out of touch. Services in the section “Sending RSS feeds back to Twitter. defeats the purpose of the “What are you doing?” question). These third-party applications use the same API as the Twitter readers (which we talk about in the section “Using Third-Party Services.” earlier in this chapter. com).
138 Part III: Twittering in High Gear .
but by design. chosen not to implement. to the public. T . The daunting challenge of writing a book chapter to direct people to the best tools and services is a significant reason for the very existence of Laura’s oneforty inc. Twitter is a living application and community. The folks who created it wanted to make Twitter a platform for users to build on. it remains extremely simple. As a result. We’d like to note. and static. pages. (www. You can find a rich toolset online to enhance and personalize your own Twitter experience. Because the long-term success of Twitter depends completely on a healthy base of users generating a regular stream of content. improve. though. Conventions and third-party tools have popped up to fill in functionality that Twitter may have missed.Chapter 9 Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem In This Chapter ▶ Using tools to enrich your Twitter experience ▶ Finding programs that make using Twitter easy ▶ Playing around on Twitter with games and memes witter is a useful tool on its own. the management obviously wants to do their best to keep Twitter on its toes. can create applications that work with Twitter to offer even more compelling features and ways to make use of the dynamic system. In this chapter. or intentionally left for other developers to handle. even stark. that it’s very hard to capture the vast and dynamic Twitter ecosystem in these few. we introduce many of the third-party tools that enrich the service. Twitter itself is constantly evolving and changing — from design facelifts to new features to changes in how the back-end technology works. in its functionality.com). or code. extending far beyond what Twitter itself controls. and enhance. Enterprising and creative software developers.oneforty. so they opened up Twitter’s API (application program interface). The Twitter team pays close attention to how people interact with the system and what those users want to do with it. as a result.
emerged in 2008 and soon became the go-to tool for searching Twitter. applications. how can you manage to find the ones that are relevant to you? You can use search applications to manage your interactions with Twitter. you can track people and topics. of new mash-ups. An advanced search tool is available at its own Web address. renaming it Twitter Search.com and the book’s official Web site at www. even after you click the Search button. Twitter acquired Summize and began a slow process of incorporating it into Twitter itself. Twitter Search is a powerful and important part of the Twitter experience. dozens. and other tools and products will be built out onto the Twitter ecosystem. a powerful search engine that trawls through the enormous volume of public tweets in real time. Finding Interesting Twitter Talk with Search Tools With so many conversations going on every day on Twitter. if not hundreds. as shown in Figure 9-1.oneforty. but here are three noteworthy things for you to know: ✓ Twitter Search (integrated into all pages of Twitter. Twitter Search isn’t static: It keeps searching for your query.com for up-to-date guidance on how to find the best and latest tools. http://search.twitter.twitterfordummies. So although the Summize name is a thing of the past. many ways. and more. Seeing the value in Summize’s application. or you can run a basic search by using the search box on the sidebar on your Twitter Home screen. Please check out www. You can search Twitter many. When Twitter Search finds a new search result. a link appears at the top of your Twitter Search results telling you how many new . find data about what’s trendy and buzzworthy up to the second.com/ advanced/. The powers that be at Twitter noticed. services.com) ✓ TweetScoop and TwitScoop ✓ Hashtags Twitter Search Summize.140 Part III: Twittering in High Gear By the time you read this book.
or keywords. you’re better off using only a couple of advanced search settings at a time. fine-tune your search by word.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem matches for your search term have appeared since you last hit the Refresh button on your browser. You’ll notice that with more popular topics. This may not seem like a big deal. Keep in mind. From the Twitter Search page. or you’re following a live event. You can fine-tune searches by usernames. but it’s extremely useful when news is breaking. locations. In the Words panel. 2. or you may find no results at all! Here’s more on how to use Advanced Search: 1. Twitter will let you know that more tweets with the relevant trending topic have come up since you first clicked the search. Click on the notification and the new tweets will load. 141 Figure 9-1: Find what you need by using Twitter’s search engine. click the Advanced Search link located below the text box. Something else that makes Twitter Search so useful is how specific you can get with Advanced Search. . A new page appears that contains a fill-in-the-blank interface to help you search for the information and people you want to find. Just click a trending topic to see what we mean.
You can also limit how many results are returned per page. specify whether you want to search for tweets that have links. Having fine-tuned a useful search. the exact phrase you input. You can search tweets that come from or reference a certain username. many times you’ll want to do something with it. Enter information if you want to search by location or distance. subscribing to it.” later in this chapter). ✓ Keep the Search window open to watch as new results come in or subscribe to the RSS feed for the search to monitor it longer term. Here are a few tips to keep in mind about Search: ✓ Remember Search is a living thing. In the People panel. specify whether you want to search by user. or sharing it with others. like watching it over time. but it can make rooting out negative or positive feedback much easier. in the Places panel. 7. select whether you want to search for “positive” or “negative” tweets. or search for tweets that ask a question. It’s not perfect. (The Persistent label off to the right of the Languages drop-down menu just means that the language you select will remain your Advanced Search default until you select a new one. If you use Twitter to improve customer relations for your business or a client. which appears both at the top and bottom of the Advanced Search page.) 3. the Attitudes panel search can really help you find certain types of feedback. 6.142 Part III: Twittering in High Gear You can specify that a search match all or none of the words in your query. In the Attitudes panel. or even set your Advanced Search defaults to all or one of 18 different languages. For example. (Hint: Shorten that URL. Your search results appear. These options search for natural language clues about the tweet that imply whether it’s positive or negative. 4. or it will be difficult to tweet. Twitter hashtags (which we talk about in the section “Hashtags. you might search only tweets of users who enter their location as a given city. In the Other panel. ✓ You can also share the search results by selecting the Twitter These Results option on the Search page or by copying and pasting the search URL from your browser bar.) . Click the Search button. as well as by date. 5. of course.
helps you track keywords and trending topics. shown in Figure 9-2. .Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 143 TwitScoop Time and again during news events. Another noteworthy site is WhatTheTrend.tweetdeck. Twitter shines as a powerful way to find out what’s going on in almost real time. sports. Figure 9-2: TweetDeck can run a TwitScoop column. You can access TwitScoop by creating a new column with TwitScoop activated: 1.com). TwitScoop does this both at a Web site and as a feature built into popular Twitter client TweetDeck (www. TwitScoop. fashion) and for emerging information of any kind. which can be really useful and is mandatory if you’re using Twitter to keep tabs on your brand.com) is one of many applications that display what trends are rising and falling. Click the + icon to add a new column. which tracks and highlights the dominating conversations on Twitter and summarizes them for you.com. politics. select “Core” and then “TwitScoop”. celebrities. 2. (earthquakes. Built into TweetDeck. wildfires. deaths) as an extension of popular culture (TV shows. accidents. In the left navigation of the “Add Column” box. TwitScoop (www.twitscoop. movies.
Twitter also offers a Trends tab now. tell attendees to mark their tweets with an agreed-upon hashtag and then follow the conversation by tracking that hashtag on TweetScoop. You can also use a handful of widgets to embed a list of trending topics on your Web site or blog. On the main Web site that is behind the TweetDeck application. popular hashtags.com). you can see tags. tag clouds.144 Part III: Twittering in High Gear A new TweetDeck column dedicated to trending topics and the information related to them loads. if you’re running a meeting or conference. you’ll find trending topic and keyword tracking in a browser interface. or on the TwitScoop site. Trending topics let you know how popular something is by tracking keywords and hashtags. Figure 9-3: TwitScoop shows you a tag cloud and hot trends. shown in Figure 9-3. . From the TwitScoop home page (www. and other words that are trending on Twitter. For example. unsorted list of popular topics in real time. which gives you a short.twitscoop. in TweetDeck.
People at the same event or meeting. hashtags make it possible to quickly filter tweets by topic. talks and conference panels in the tech and media industries display the search results for the official hashtag. especially if organizers say something like “include #ourevent in all your tweets” (where ourevent is a unique label for that event. so you can’t always search it reliably. creating a shared billboard of ideas. can seem noisy and disjointed if you don’t follow or understand those hashtags.org) automatically tracked and displayed these hashtags. and other codes. Most of these communities are short-lived. (Figure 9-4 shows the results of a search for #dummies. if you want to review the information related to that event or topic. or other content by using an easy abbreviation that doesn’t take up too many of a tweet’s 140 characters. As a concept. seeing tweet after tweet go by containing hashtags. #sxsw. or who are discussing the same topic. questions. #justsayin. .org uses. More and more. Others become ongoing conversations. and share all tweets for a certain topic or event. before too long. It’s something people are just starting to figure out. notes. Not all Twitter users like hashtags: Some users think that hashtags make the Twitter stream clunky.) Sure. Hashtags are handy for note-taking and conversation during events. along with the rest of Twitter’s quirks. hashtags are a way to delineate a keyword for other Twitter users to organize discussions around specific topics and events. but don’t pull the trigger too quickly: You can probably get used to hashtags.) People tweeting about it just type that #ourevent tag in each tweet to contribute to the combined flow of tweets that all can watch and respond to. #journchat. The ability to tag tweets is extremely powerful. or meta hashtags. the Web site #hashtags (www. can use the same hashtag. but the # in a hashtag is a signal for others that it is the keyword to use so that they can easily find. you can simply search for the hashtag on Twitter Search to find all tweets that reference the same code. What that means is that a hashtag that catches on forms an instant community around it. event. Basically. Admittedly. But Twitter occasionally turns off the portion of its application program interface (API) that hashtags. recurring real-time events. You can always unfollow a heavy hashtag user if it really bothers you.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 145 Hashtags Hashtags have become a part of the culture on Twitter for many avid users. read. or even entire movements.hashtags. you can search by keyword. Later on. (You may sometimes hear these called Meta tags. and they have a very interesting future. such as #GNO.) Originally.
Figure 9-4: The results of a search for the hashtag #dummies. Say that you’re organizing an event or want to start a discussion or debate on Twitter. People not present at the event can also participate in the discussion by searching the hashtag stream and following along with the presentation or speaker.146 Part III: Twittering in High Gear and other information. you might actually think they were in the room with you). you can often discover other attendees at the conference that you might want to meet or talk to (although sometimes the people tweeting from offsite are so engaged. just like they were there. to set up “binders” for your most often re-used hashtags (such as tags for monthly events like #smbnh. hashtags are living things that will drop out of your current view over time. by linking to the “binder” on your event site. or Social Media Breakfast NH). you can see your hashtags as perpetual notes creating a whole picture of a group or community as it has developed. You can use one of many tools. Then. and you want to establish a hashtag for that Twitter conversation. Like Tweets. such as TwapperKeeper (http:// twapperkeeper. Here are some tips for creating an effective hashtag: . From how the hashtag is included in the tweet.com/).
of course. and entire services that feed off of the Twitter platform. Figure 9-5 shows the desktop client TweetDeck. For example. For example. people use the popular #wishlist hashtag for everything from software feature wish lists to requests for birthday presents. like Flickr. check Twitter Search for the hashtag that you want to use to make sure that someone else hasn’t already claimed it. mash-ups. 147 Expanding Your Twitter World by Using Clients Twitter’s open API means that enterprising and creative software developers are constantly creating applications. by tweeting it out — so that people responding to it can use the same hashtag. After you choose your hashtag. make a note of it on your event page or blog post — or. so searching for it brings up a fairly cluttered stream. Figure 9-5: Put Twitter on your desktop with a client such as TweetDeck. use this too! You can find pictures of the event. . ✓ Make sure everyone at your event or discussing your topic is aware of the proper hashtag in advance. Other social networks.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ✓ If you want to avoid confusion.
based on Adobe Air. open-source microblogging application Identi. It also works with several social-networking services. so. it can switch back and forth between multiple Twitter accounts. or who run Twitter accounts for clients. Importantly. Ping. because on the Web site. Anybody with a decent amount of programming know-how can create a Twitter client. Adobe Air is a free program. or Linux operating system. making them a very diverse crop of applications.fm (a tool to send one message to multiple platforms). so if you don’t have it already. and currently free to use. you’ll be instructed to install it when you download a Twitter desktop client.148 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Many of these third-party applications are Twitter clients.com): Based on Adobe Air. attractive. programs designed to let you update Twitter on your desktop or mobile phone. Windows. so you can use many of your social tools in one place. and letting you interact with tweets. in fact. Adobe Air doesn’t come preinstalled on your computer. Most of these clients are based on a programming standard called Adobe Air. but here are a few that stand out from the crowd because they’re particularly easy to use and offer the features that most Twitter users want: ✓ Seesmic Desktop (www. organizing. is compatible with Mac. such as aggregator FriendFeed. Many of these applications autoload tweets from your Twitter followers. Desktop clients Many Twitter clients for your Mac or PC take the form of a software download that you install and run from the desktop. and Seesmic video-chat. The interface is semi-customizable. and unobtrusive window interface (as shown in Figure 9-6).com): This free Twitter client. The main selling points of TweetDeck are the ability to form specific groups of . This is nice. It has a slim. ✓ TweetDeck (www. There is definitely a competition afoot to become the preferred way for most twitterers to engage with Twitter. which is handy for those users who keep separate personal and professional ones.seesmic. which many avid Twitter users like. fairly easy to get the hang of. Each of these applications have different ways of displaying. you can install Seesmic Desktop on any computer that runs a Mac. just like Seesmic Desktop. instead of having to use the Web interface or text-messaging. or Linux systems. are many of the Twitter clients that we talk about. Windows. you’re in luck — TweetDeck is for the power Twitter user.ca.tweetdeck. If Seesmic Desktop isn’t hardcore enough for you. you have to actually click the blue bar showing how many new tweets have arrived every few minutes to see what’s going on. searching. Whether a few clear leaders emerge or whether people continue to interact with Twitter dozens of ways remains to be seen.
Beyond that. and it costs less than $15. Twitterrific has the standard gorgeous and streamlined interface most often associated with Macs (as shown in Figure 9-7). iPad. as well as the ability to manage more than one Twitter account. but if you choose to support the developers by purchasing the application. But. unlike many other Twitter clients.com): A Twitter client made for the Mac OS X desktop operating system. and multiple-column interface. TweetDeck is almost too functional for some casual Twitter users. with mobile versions for Apple’s iPhone. you’ll find many of the same features as on Seesmic Desktop. including the ability to get content from more than one social network (Facebook.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem your contacts. integrated Twitter search. And many people swear by Twitterrific’s interface and customer service. or iPod Touch available in the iTunes App Store. for example).twitterrific. you can’t track other social networks within its interface. you can’t easily beat seeing trending topics in a column or performing a detailed Twitter search right from your desktop. you’ll avoid the ads on the regular version. but if you use Twitter frequently. TweetDeck and Twhirl increasingly vie for the top spot as most popular desktop Twitter client. but it’s worth noting that approximately half of Twitter use seems to happen right at Twitter.com. 149 Figure 9-6: Seesmic has a stylish interface design. Twitterrific is shareware: You can download a free version. ✓ Twitterrific (www. .
com): A Windows-only desktop client that combines together many instant-messaging. in addition to Twitter — Facebook. Try out a few of the Twitter desktop clients in the preceding list.im) or Trillian (www. Again. too. to name a few. you can sign up to be notified when they publish a Mac/Linux version of Digsby by going to www. Figure 9-8 shows the Digsby home page.oneforty.pidgin. and social-networking accounts. and Yahoo!.com to make all of this easier.digsby.com).150 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-7: A Twitterrific desktop interface. . But if none of the most popular Twitter clients appeal to you.digsby. we’re building www. but Digsby comes with social networks built in. The interface is similar to a universal instantmessaging client such as Pidgin (www. LinkedIn. A version is in the works for the Mac operating system. ceruleanstudios. If you’re not on a Windows PC. but it has yet to be released as of this writing.com/ signup/maclinux. because more and more emerge every day. You can find many Twitter desktop clients out there to choose from. Use Google or another search engine to search for a desktop Twitter client. AIM. e-mail. never fear. ✓ Digsby (www. MySpace.
you may want to invest in a mobile Twitter client. or PDA is by text messaging (SMS). You can also use SMS as a convenient way to receive tweets on your cellphone because the phone delivery option sends you the tweets of any user for whom you have turned on Notifications. But getting so many text messages can be expensive if you don’t subscribe to an unlimited texting plan. To prepare yourself for that possible situation. sending tweets to the 40404 short-code. Twitter might eliminate the SMS service in the future to cut costs or begin charging for SMS to offset those costs. You also receive your direct messages. although not your @replies at the time of writing. Mobile clients The most basic way to use Twitter on a mobile phone. . Because SMS also costs Twitter money. and consequently having them associated with your username if you enable Phone as a delivery option on your Home screen sidebar. Another way to see what clients are popular? Simply look at the end of tweets from people you trust to find out what they use — tweets are source tagged with the name of the source client or application that sent them. You simply have to add your mobile device to your Twitter profile. smartphone.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 151 Figure 9-8: You can keep up with your Twitter account by using Digsby.
soon to be Twitter for iPhone and iPad. Enter Adobe Air. Like the programming language Java. coding two (or three) versions of the same application can be a huge investment of time. Because these applications run on any machine that can run Adobe Air. two separate teams work on two versions of Microsoft Word: one for Windows.twitter rific. such as Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. TweetDeck and Seesmic Desktop) are written for Adobe Air.com/products/air/. It may even automatically download itself and install on your computer if you give it permission. Anyone who has tried to jump from using Microsoft Word on a Mac to using Microsoft Word on a PC (or vice-versa) can appreciate the beauty of this. Or. Installing Adobe Air is not that hard — often. ✓ For a BlackBerry: Your choices are limited. For smaller companies or independent developers.adobe. they function exactly the same across platforms. twitter.com/products/openbeak/). That means developers can reach a larger potential audience than if they had to re-create their product over and over to work on different platforms. Because of Adobe Air’s ease of distribution and networking features.atebits. You can take the easy road if you have a smartphone or PDA that has a decent Web browser and a data plan from your cell carrier. At Microsoft. You can find them by searching in the iTunes App Store.com/tweetieiphone).com). .com) and Tweetie (www. if you try to install an application that requires it. download one of the following mobile applications and see how amazing Twitter can be when you take it on the road: ✓ For an iPhone or iPad: You can use the Twitterrific (www. for instance. need to be written separately for each operating system that they run on. Some software developers actually joke that the main reason to learn to program for Adobe Air is to build a new Twitter client. orangatame.twitter. particularly those that are writing lightweight applications. Many Twitter third-party desktop applications (notably. formerly called TwitterBerry (www.com for the mostly-functional mobile version of the site. Adobe Air is a piece of software you install on your computer that lets you run applications built for the Adobe Air set of standards. you’re instructed to install Adobe Air first. the other for Macintosh. as well as other apps such as Twitter’s own (http:// mobile. programmers often write desktop-based social-networking and messaging clients for Adobe Air. Visit http://m.152 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Adobe Air Most consumer applications. run everywhere” ideal. Just follow the onscreen instructions or go to www. but most BlackBerry users prefer an app called OpenBeak. Adobe Air aims for the “write once.
especially if you have a touch screen phone. TinyTwitter gives you all the functions that other mobile Twitter clients do. 153 Figure 9-9: You can use Twobile on your Windows Mobile device.com/): Users swear by its stability. .tinytwitter. making it more difficult for you to tell at a glance whether your favorite people and companies on Twitter are talking. • ceTwit (http://www. but none of them are all that great.com) is an excellent choice out of many options. and you can easily use it.com/seesmic_mobile/) seem to be the favorites amongst our peers.com/) and Seesmic Mobile (http://seesmic.com/cetwit-info/): A bit better on the design front than Twobile. that it’s more crash-prone than Twobile. ✓ For a Java-enabled phone: TinyTwitter (www. but it’s fully functional and reasonably stable.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ✓ For an Android-based phone: Twidroid (http://twidroid. yet it doesn’t take up a huge amount of space if your phone doesn’t have a lot of room on it for extra applications. If you want a stable option that experiences few crashes. It doesn’t look as pretty as some desktop Twitter clients.kosertech. Here are several clients for Windows Mobile that you might want to check out: • Twobile (www. especially on the often-unstable Windows Mobile operating system. It does have avatars associated with the tweets that come through.” earlier in this chapter). One of the more stable Java applications for the mobile phone.infinitumsoftware. Twobile doesn’t display avatars. Twobile (shown in Figure 9-9) fits that bill. Users have reported. however. ✓ For Windows Mobile-based smartphones and PDAs: You can find several options out there. But some users do have issues with the fact that. like the Digsby desktop client (see “Desktop clients. but the list interface has its problems.
But those URLs can be quite long. and you have to be ready to download regular updates.154 Part III: Twittering in High Gear • PocketTwit (http://code. But if you want your mobile client to look and operate just like your desktop client. so it has some occasional freezes.TwitterForDummies. for the touch screen Windows Mobile market. which comes from Google Labs. is remaining very current or user-friendly with the fast pace of innovation within the Twitter ecosystem.com/p/pocketwit): A new contender. but none of them.com.oneforty. It’s still in beta (early testing release). We’ll let you know on www. Sometimes. Keeping Your Tweets Short with URL Shorteners One of the main issues with Twitter is space. or to just about anything on the Web. fully functional interface (shown in Figure 9-10) operates much like most desktop clients and looks gorgeous. you want to show your Twitter network a link to a Web page that you find fascinating or amusing. There are several other directories. this one can do the job. You can use a site called the Twitter Fan Wiki (http://twitter. Active Twitter users have written up their favorite Twitter applications and provided links that can point you to the download sites. Its slick. . We sincerely hope to fix that with www. com/apps) to find out more about Twitter clients.pbwiki. Figure 9-10: PocketTwit is a new Windows Mobile device client. even the fan wiki. often well over 140 characters themselves. both mobile and desktop.com how that goes. to a blog post that you wrote or an article about you. The 140-character limit makes it easy to run out of room before you finish what you want to say.google.
and you can set bit. shown in Figure 9-11.ly (http://bit.ly. Although new applications come out frequently. Twitter automatically shrinks that URL to a more manageable size by using TinyURL.ly also integrates with TweetDeck. Twitter uses TinyURL (www.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem URL shorteners are extremely easy Web-based applications that take long URLs from Web sites and make them shorter by turning them into coded small URLs that forward the reader to the original linked page. where clicks are coming from. Some URL shorteners offer added services. The URL shortener permanently assigns the link to that shortened URL. and what kind of results they’re getting.ly (http://bit. unlike other URL shorteners.ly) remains our favorite of the URL shortener crowd. such as a way to track who’s clicking your link in Twitter. you can use a URL shortener that promises to make your URL fit into the smallest of spaces on Twitter. unshortened URL in the Update window on your Home screen on Twitter. 155 . how often it’s being clicked.com) as its default URL shortener. bit.ly to remember your Twitter handle(s).tinyurl. and then paste that URL into the input field at the URL shortener site of your choice. To use one of these shorteners. copy the URL from the address bar of the Web site that you want to share. If you’re looking to save as many characters as possible.ly catches your tracking data for you no matter what Twitter interface you use when you post. bit.com): Tracks the IP address of visitors and how many times your link was clicked You can find many options by doing a Google search for the term URL shortener. two huge pieces of information that can help you target your audience in a more refined way. You don’t have to do a thing. key information from the target page.ly): Tracks clicks over time. This application’s tracking includes location and metadata. offers a complete tracking service that lets you see where the URLs you shorten and share are going. In Figure 9-12. So. bit. and other statistics that you can use to gather data on the effectiveness of your (or your client’s) Twitter account: ✓ bit.ly and then tweeted.ly tracking results (how many people clicked and when) for a link that was shortened in bit.com. clicks on other shortened versions of the link. and retweets of the link (even if they use a differently shortened URL) ✓ BudURL (http://budurl. you can see bit. bit. If you enter a whole.
pulling in your accounts from sites such as Twitter.fm. Flickr. without having to spend a lot of time clicking from Web site to Web site so that you can keep up with what’s going on. social bookmarking sites such as Digg. especially at first. and so on. Getting All Your Online Activity in One Place by Using Aggregators Aggregators are sites that bring all your social-media activity into one place. photo-sharing sites such as Flickr. social music sites such as Last. YouTube.com). An aggregator gives you one stop where you can see all your social profiles and all the updates from your friends and colleagues on those services.ly interface. Not everyone loves FriendFeed. It’s pretty complicated. MySpace.156 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-11: The bit. FriendFeed can pull in accounts from any social network. although a new . any blog or Web site that has an RSS feed. and more. shown in Figure 9-13. The most buzzworthy aggregator right now is FriendFeed (http://friend feed. Facebook. It has some issues with user interface.
Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem one just launched as this book went to press. It also works with Seesmic Desktop. and you can use many of them much more easily (and they look prettier) than FriendFeed. 157 Figure 9-12: Some bit. making that News Feed function very much like an aggregator. You can find plenty of other aggregators out there. Spokeo. and it gets too hard to follow meaningful conversations or keep up with friends. Some people find that putting so many accounts into one place just makes things noisy. . You can also use SocialMedian.ly tracking results. but it has a steep learning curve and several serious privacy issues. Facebook itself now pulls many third-party services into its News Feed. so you can see it right on your desktop Twitter client. even though they don’t necessarily have the hardcore community that FriendFeed does. Plaxo. You may find figuring it out a bit difficult. and many more. Some power users use the new Google Buzz (accessible for those with GMail accounts). But many active twitterers love FriendFeed because it handles vast amounts of data from both you and your contacts with ease. SocialThing.
When you use Twitter.com to try and make sense of why that topic is trending. Using Trending Topics: The Zeitgeist of Twitter Near the bottom of the right-hand column of your Twitter home page. but is often. you can see topics trending (becoming popular) in real time. A tag word is the same as a hashtag or keyword. It’s just a word that people are using frequently to discuss a certain topic or issue. real-time search results for that individual topic. Twitter keeps track of the hot topics and displays and ranks them there. If you click any one of those trending topics. (Go ahead and try!) If the topic has been around for a little bit. Twitter can pull in description information from the third-party service WhatTheTrend. You can also use a service called Twellow (www. . A quick description won’t always be there. you can see the Trending Topics section. As the millions of people tweet away.158 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-13: Combine all your online activity by using FriendFeed. Twitter pulls up quick.com) to search the latest trending topics and popular tag words.twellow.
such as #NoDisrespectBut #DontYouHateWhen and new Apple product releases. if a city’s big enough. Twitter users joined teams designated by color in a summercamp-inspired game. By the same token. . it’s often the case when you see a celebrity’s name trending on Twitter that they’ve have had a big news day or have recently passed away. You can also follow the user @ TrendingTopics (http://twitter.) Trending topics give you real-time statistics on public appeal and can be a great resource for sudden worldwide events.trends. Right now. Michael sets his Trending Topics scope to Boston and basks in the angst that is New England’s collective mourning. earthquakes. Trending Topics defaults to global reach.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem Trending topics also appear at a service called TweetGrid (www.tweet grid. and new Apple product releases. that city. but Twitter is working to help localize trending topics for greater relevance. and Michael lives in New York.fr). in a gross display of schadenfreude. They’ve been known to turn the service into a wacky social gaming platform on occasion. such as when Internet sensation Ze Frank organized Color Wars (as shown in Figure 9-14). In the Color Wars. Trending topics often picks up a lot of nonsense and off-target information. To adjust Trending Topics scope. take Trending Topics with a grain of salt.com/trendingtopics). like tsunamis. a bot that claims to track and report live trending tag words on Twitter. If your favorite sports team loses. For example. and on sites such as the Twitter Trending Topics RSS Feed (http://twitter. Some users who have turned on Twitter’s new geolocation feature in their settings (use with caution) can get trending topics for their immediate area.free. find the Trending Topics sidebar area and click the Change button. and those teams proceeded to complete tasks such as online scavenger hunts and Photoshop challenges. (In the latter case. you’ll usually see RIP trending along with that celebrity’s name. Why should you care about trending topics? You can use them to gauge the popularity or success of anything from a specific person to a political theme to a marketing campaign. you can localize to country and. A dialog box will come up so you can hone-in on the geographic area that’s most interesting to you. 159 Playing with Twitter Games and Memes Hardcore Twitter users are a playful bunch. Go Yankees. They can also help you figure out what the global Twitter population finds newsworthy. you can adjust your trending topics to lessen the pain or heighten the glory: Laura and Leslie hail from the Boston area. So.com). Whenever the Red Sox lose to the Yankees.
answering the implicit question and tweeting it out with the hashtag attached. as well. to create memes — trends that flow through the Twitter stream with many people participating. from one person to another. to build the story. all collaborating on the outcome by adding individual lines. fitting unrelated lines together like a puzzle. You use other people’s tweets. . TwitStory is a game in which people create a story tweet by tweet. You can read how TwitStory #3 came out on its creator’s blog at http://andypowe11. When Twitter users see the hashtag go by in their Twitter stream. such as #favoritehappysong or #favoritefallfood. Twitter users like to use its potential to spread virally.160 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-14: Color Wars! You can use Twitter for creative games. they voice their own opinions. net/blog/?cat=10. You can have fun going back to visit these games in Twitter Search later. rather than your own. Sometimes. and you can also use them to find out a little more about your Twitter connections. users create hashtags to spark discussion.
. Most of the time. trending topics. you may well create your own Twitter game or meme — either just for kicks or even as a marketing strategy. “What’s the deal with Twitter and Ohio anyways!?” OH just abbreviates “overheard” and is usually followed by something funny or awkward or even quite horrible. which you can then use on slides and Web sites. and bolder its display will be as well. Some OH tweets are racy or raunchy. often quite visually appealing. Cloudlet. You may enjoy watching tag clouds.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem One popular meme that doesn’t seem to ever die out is the Overheard meme. the larger. “Can you believe this?!” Hear something funny or crazy in real life and want to share it? Just type OH and then put the quip you heard in quotes. and the more mentions a word gets. way to see what is really going on. a visual display of words where the relative size of the word corresponds to how many times it has been mentioned. keeping the OH anonymous — it’s funnier out of context. You may have noticed a lot of tweets containing OH and wondered. With all the creativity on Twitter and its general fun-loving nature. Applications such as Wordle (www. and hashtags all have something in common: They all can generate a Twitter tag cloud. Don’t be shy! 161 Tag Clouds TwitScoop. but most are just average things people say that seem funny at the time. wordle. Tag clouds provide an easy visualization of what’s going on in the twitterverse in real time. It’s another. Tag clouds are an interesting way to present what topics and keywords around your subject are interesting to the group at large and can give your presentation or blog entry a little more punch and relevance. The twitterer is sharing it as if to say. Words that twitterers are using a lot will appear in the tag cloud. you don’t use any names.net) even let you play with tag clouds a little so that you can generate graphical representations of whatever your topic is (as shown in Figure 9-15). darker.
but there is even more value in the Twitter experience when you take the opportunity to tune into what people are saying about you. . your company. and your favorite topics. though you can pay for some tools that come with additional business features like analytics and better organization of search results. You can find plenty of tools available that let you track your social media presence. Keeping an ear to the tremendous firehose of information about consumer sentiment and even world events helps and can definitely bear fruit and make effective use of your social media engagement time invested. In the following sections. Many of these tools are free. a finely attuned listening program will greatly enhance your ability to build connections and influence on Twitter in the first place. building connections and influence on Twitter is a great objective. Keeping in Contact with Visualization and Listening Tools Sure.162 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Figure 9-15: This Wordlegenerated tag cloud. These tools allow you to set it and forget it — you can still find out what’s said without actively trawling through Twitter. Also. But no matter which service you use. make listening a priority for yourself on Twitter. we really only skim the surface of what’s possible.
Twitter tweets. is something every individual and company should do as a minimum social media listening program. Google is emerging as a very convenient key to your social media identity. tweets. is your pass to many valuable. and having a Gmail account. Doing a Boolean search. A drop-down menu appears. and news stories that mention whatever keywords you want to follow. In the top toolbar.com/profiles/ PistachioConsulting. such as putting quotes around two words to keep them together. Remember. Click the Alerts link. you probably should. Google Alerts Setting up some basic Google Alerts. and as an e-mail service has some of the best spamblocking. free Google applications and services like Google Alerts. 4. which means that PistachioConsulting@Gmail. you don’t have to use your Gmail address as your main e-mail to benefit from having a Gmail account. Google’s free e-mail account. In the Search Terms field. enter the topic. while not a Twitter-specific listening tool. The Google Alerts tool trawls the Web. The Google Alerts screen appears. Though.com reserves this Google profile for the company: www. 5. select what kind of search you want to do.google. The More Google Products screen appears. 3. From the Type drop-down list. Log into your Gmail account. To set up a Google Alert: 1.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 163 Google as keymaster If you don’t already have a Google e-mail address. tagging. or phrase that you want to monitor. Your Gmail address is also the key to your Google profile URL. and message search going. But you may find more and more uses for it once you test the waters and do a few things with it. keyword. then delivers those posts. name. Select Even More from the menu. 2. . business name. which has a bell to its left. Gmail is free. you can set this to something else using their online tools. and stories to your Gmail inbox (as shown in Figure 9-16). can help you fine-tune your Google Alert results. 6. looking for new blog posts. click More.
or your product is perceived. 9. a brand name. to cover all your possible search bases. select how often you want Google to trawl for results. or any keywords you choose. Figure 9-16: You can have Google Alerts delivered directly to your Gmail inbox. enter your Gmail address. your company name. name.164 Part III: Twittering in High Gear We recommend Comprehensive at first. 7. . Google delivers the Alerts to this address. Click the Create Alert button to activate the Google Alert. If you find it is simply returning too many results for your brand. In the Deliver To field. It helps you pay attention to people who are using your name. You can create as many Alert searches as you need. This kind of monitoring and listening tool is a valuable way to keep track of how you. 10. From the How Often drop-down list.blvdstatus. 8.com/) is a tool that works to help you track who is talking about you on the Internet (see Figure 9-17). BLVDStatus (http://www. your company. you can always scale it back later. Repeat Steps 5 through 9 for additional Alerts. or keywords.
such as blogs. The most interesting things about BLVDStatus are that it offers a free version that is valuable.twitter. What does BLVDStatus have to do with Twitter? It’s one of the few listening tools out there that lets you incorporate tweets as well as conversations about you found other places on the Web. and it takes you to a level a bit deeper than a simple Google Alert. offers real results you can customize. You can track all mentions of your name. and is comparable to a larger. paid tracking company. Twitter Search Twitter’s own Search (http://search.com) allows you to figure out how people are interacting with you and what they’re saying about you on Twitter. Conversion tracking means BLVDStatus will help you see which tweets about you led to visits to your site and then go deeper to filling out a contact form or ordering a product. into something called conversion tracking. It helps you see real results from your online involvement. sorted how you wish to see it). whether or . BLVDStatus displays these results in an attractive and easy-to-read set of widgets (colorful squares full of information you ask for.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 165 Figure 9-17: The BLVDStatus Stats page.
Go to Twitter Search (http://search. Figure 9-18: Twitter Search results for a Dummies string. 2. If you want to get fancy and you know how to use search strings. To set this kind of inclusive Twitter search: 1.166 Part III: Twittering in High Gear not those mentions have an @ in front of them. you can search terms like this: -from:dummies dummies OR dummys. company names. Figure 9-18 shows the results for the example Dummies search string. by setting up a search and then bookmarking that search for later. its results automatically refresh every few moments. If you leave the Search tab open.com). and for any topics we are currently working on.twitter. Your search results appear. enter your search terms. . You can also subscribe to the results of any search using RSS (see Chapters 4 and 8). In the Search box. replacing “dummies” with the term for which you want to search. 3. We have several bookmarked searches set up for our names. Click the Search button.
real-time package.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem 4. Bookmark the search using your favorite bookmarking feature. graphs. Figure 9-19: You can download Radian6 from its Web site. aesthetically pleasing. such as tracking. It also offers superb real-time customer service.radian6. Radian6 offers the results in an easy-to-interpret. program. or Web site. or for a company that doesn’t have the manpower to set up and track multiple free searches on a variety of tools. for a large corporation that needs to track multiple campaigns on a national or international scale. analysis. Radian6 offers some functionality that free search monitoring services don’t. if you need assistance.com). . and the ability to assign specific tweets to team members for follow-up. 5. Repeat Steps 2 through 4 for as many search terms as you want to track. a paid monitoring service. 167 Radian6 We recommend Radian6 (www. Figure 9-19 shows the Radian6 Web site.
and digging in to really understand who you are connected to is not always straightforward. You can use these kinds of services to check out your followers and to double-check that you’re following the people who are important to you: . But. It also doesn’t offer a way to sort your followers alphabetically or navigate in any way more efficient than the slow page-by-page scan. that twitterer’s username appears in the drop-down list only if he follows you back. you can try to direct message that user — if he doesn’t follow you. If you’re on a desktop client. Networking is by far one of the most powerful uses that anyone can make of Twitter. and to keep up with those people you want to add to your follow list. Here are some tools that will improve your networking experience on Twitter: ✓ Find your followers. If you’re on the Twitter Web interface’s DM update screen. you get a message telling you so.168 Part III: Twittering in High Gear Knowing Your Network with Follower and Following Tools While your Twitter universe grows and grows. Figure 9-20: Twitter lets you see who’s following you (left) and whom you follow (right). you probably want to find the best way possible to keep up with your followers and who you’re following. You can use sites such as Twitter Karma and FriendorFollow to check and compare who follows you and whom you follow. Twitter doesn’t offer a way to search your follower or following lists (which you can see in Figure 9-20). maintaining your network. You can quickly find out whether someone is following you back by trying to send that user a direct message. Twitter itself falls short in this area. For some reason. finding interesting people.
Because the results are searched by follower numbers. who follows you. • We Follow (www. journalists.twellow. If a Twitter user has been active long enough to have a few tweets on the record. If you search for yourself on Twellow. location. and then tweak it to categorize yourself so that others can find you based on your interests. you can find him on Twellow. musicians. and who follows you without you following them back. services. as well as remove users whom you no longer want to follow. FriendorFollow connections don’t automatically opt you into individuals’ device updates. But Twitter Karma tends to select Notifications On as the default setting when you add a new follower from Twitter Karma’s interface.wefollow. as well as a bio. Twitter’s people search function is ironically the weakest. • Twellow (www.com): User-generated Twitter directory launched by Digg Founder Kevin Rose at SXSW in April 2009. The FriendorFollow interface tells you who your mutual follows are. whom you follow without being followed back. so be sure to double. it’s a particularly good way to find the top celebrities.com or your Home screen): We’d be remiss not to remind you here that you can find new people to follow on Twitter itself in three useful ways. even if you have device updates turned on for your account. or trending topics.com): Came onto the Twitter scene more recently than Twitter Karma. politicians.org/twitter/karma): Offers you a way to see whom you follow. Even to find a specific individual that you know to be on Twitter. and its interface is a little bit easier to understand.twitter. so it’s okay to use the tool to connect to many people. meaning that you contact Twellow and prove that you are you in order to get editing privileges for it. You can then pick and choose whom to follow and whom to stop following. and which users both follow you and are followed by you.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem • FriendorFollow (http://friendorfollow. allows you to find new followers based on category. or professional categories. you’re often better 169 . and so on who are using Twitter at any given time.dossy. ✓ Find new people to follow.check that user’s profile if you don’t want to receive her notifications by text message. you can claim your profile.com): Structured like a Yellow Pages for Twitter. name. • Twitter Karma (www. • Twitter (http://search. Associates up to three hashtags with each twitterer who lists themselves in the directory and then presents the most followed individuals and accounts for each category. You can also use Twitter Karma to add followers.
friends. ✓ Find users by location.com/twellow hood/) lets you find twitterers by city using a zoomable map.twitterlocal. You get a surprisingly good feel for who they are as a person that way.com) lets twitterers sign themselves up by tweeting their zip code publicly.localtweeps. and while there has been some controversy around who gets to be on that list and who does not. so you don’t have to worry about losing photos. An even more comprehensive service.com) offers you a way to back up your Twitter data. so be prepared to wait a little while. TwitterLocal is offered only as a downloadable Adobe Air application you can use to view tweets by location. You can also try several other good sites for finding local twitterers: • Hubspot’s TwitterGrader returns lists of the top graded twitterers for given cities (http://twitter. Tweet (http://mrtweet. So while it overlaps heavily with the Suggested Users list. and you may notice some cool ideas coming from equally cool people. Tweet would allow you to find other cyclists amongst your friends’ friends. If you’re a cyclist. • Mr. or a 140-character thought ever again. • LocalTweeps (www. Because Twitter has its XMPP feed switched off for the time being.com): This site simply combines the streams of the 100 most-followed Twitter accounts. as well as 27 of your other social networks. for instance.grader. . and one that Leslie uses. such as Facebook and Flickr. ✓ Back up your data. TwitterLocal (www. Twitter also offers a list of suggested users. But to really fine-tune your interests. It’s very cool. The initial backup takes quite a long time. Tweetake (http://tweetake. • Twellow’s Twellowhood feature (www. • 100TWT (http://100twt. it does a nice job of letting you skim random tweets from the Twitter heavyweights in a combined screen.net) used to use Twitter’s XMPP feed to show what users were in what locations. so that you don’t lose the data if Twitter ever crashes. Poke around from time to time.com/): This site helps you find new Twitter users to follow based on both your existing network and your interests as demonstrated by your tweets.170 Part III: Twittering in High Gear off searching Google for his first and last names and the word Twitter. periodically search Twitter itself for tweets about topics close to your heart and unique amongst your interests. is Backupify. and reference riding occasionally. Click on a user’s name in any tweet he’s written and peruse his last page or so of tweets. Mr.twellow. It backs up your tweets. You never know who you might find.com/top/cities). it includes some pretty interesting accounts and is worth browsing. including your follower and following lists.
parse. you may find it kind of fun and mystifying to watch. per se. Twittervision is certainly not an efficient way to find new people to follow. on a live. perhaps embellishing them with the videos and photos you linked to. relationships. We become what we measure. You can take your unwieldy stream of tweets and extract out a few key moments.Chapter 9: Embracing the Twitter Ecosystem ✓ Find out when you lose followers. One of the areas of likely innovation in the Twitter ecosystem is better publishing tools. especially as some are set up to imply that a certain tweet caused the unfollow. on a map of the world. com) and Qwitter (http://useqwitter. When each tweet comes in. These tools are very much against the spirit of Twitter. Personal scrapbooks or annual reports (see Nicholas Feltron’s work) could be a really nice thing to have personally. or it may have some very real economic and or emotional value to you. you may want to know when you lose followers — but this information can also be quite the blow to your ego. You can use a mash-up application called Twittervision (http://twittervision. “I’ve seen God. and conversations may be a mere nicety. It’s enough to say. Laura frequently mentions her children’s milestones or captures meaningful moments in her life through her tweets. constantly updating map. We’ve heard that someone who viewed the display at the Museum of Modern Art stared for a very long time and came away pretty breathless. physical location from which it came. Just don’t expect “utility” from it. It’s probably not even a good idea to use these quitting services. where unsubscribing is really just a personal choice about the consumption of content. as well as the specific Twitter user. TwitterLess (www. saying. or visual display of the conversations you were having at the time. it’s associated with the actual. and analyze will come to be a business necessity as more and more types of business interactions take place on Twitter. Depending on your outlook or your reason for using Twitter. It’s really no big deal. For a business.com) that displays the activity on Twitter in real time on a Google map. this kind of recordkeeping has even more obvious value — having the data in a format that you can search.” Far be it from us to pass judgment on anyone’s sense of reverence.com) are two tools that alert you when someone stops following you. Laura has many business and personal contacts that don’t happen to be interested in the way she uses Twitter. 171 You can take it with you Depending on how you use Twitter. and it’s a waste of energy to try to “determine” why someone left your stream. not a personal affront or rejection of the friendship. Use with caution! ✓ Watch Twitter unfold. and measuring effectiveness will be a crucial reason to be able to get a copy of your Twitter data. but it can be entrancing to watch. having your own copy of your tweets. It’s just not encouraging feedback.twitterless. .
172 Part III: Twittering in High Gear .
Part IV Knowing Why We Twitter .
n this part. we ask the big questions: Why are you on Twitter? As a business. .I In this part . . . how can you use Twitter to build and stabilize your brand? As a not-for-profit. and we promise we won’t put you through an existential crisis. what can you do to make people evangelize your cause? What should you say? Whom should you talk to? We answer these questions and more in this part.
Twitter can conveniently become an integral part of your dayto-day life. It may seem a bit limiting at first. Finding Your Voice. Twitter is available almost everywhere — you can update your Twitter feed many ways on many platforms. . you don’t follow anyone yet. But as you get up to speed and even “embrace the twecosystem. and nobody follows you. The mechanics are pretty easy. you have no idea who’s really listening (if anyone). In this chapter. but over time that limitation changes the way you write and communicate. you can more or less use Twitter. Updating your feed may seem a bit awkward.Chapter 10 Finding Your Tweet Voice In This Chapter ▶ Diving into Twitter ▶ Deciding whether to tweet for work or fun ▶ Figuring out who you’re tweeting to ▶ Being yourself on Twitter ▶ Knowing what to keep personal and private I f you let it. You’re tweeting into the void. If you plan to use the service with some regularity.” writing and sharing in only 140 characters at a time definitely takes some getting used to. Wherever you have Internet or cellular coverage. you’ll probably want to think at least a little bit about how your updates compare with the image you want to convey. we explore different approaches to using Twitter and how you can find your own unique voice. Whether for Business or Pleasure When you first sign up for a Twitter account.
When you start following users and other users start following you. If you use your business name as your Twitter handle. you should be able to get the hang of Twitter in no time! Figure 10-1: Michael’s example first tweet. you may want to think about what sort of things you want to share with your following. you likely intend to create a presence for your company. it simply implies that you are who . For many new users. you will find yourself figuring out what kind of voice you want to use on Twitter. But if you use your real name as your username (which is probably the best way to go). If you choose a nickname or pseudonym for your username. The answer. you probably aim for Twitter personal use. one of the great debates is whether to use Twitter for business or pleasure. But if you follow our advice. and we address that a lot in this chapter.176 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter and you’re almost certainly wondering what the heck the point of tweeting even is. depends entirely on what you want to get out of the Twitter experience. Part of determining your identity on Twitter involves choosing your username (which we cover in Chapter 2). You might have joined Twitter for either reason (or both). Don’t feel bad — most everyone’s first tweet (see Figure 10-1) is a little awkward. As you come to embrace the medium to its fullest. as with so many answers about Twitter.
That’s one reason why you probably want to use your real name or some variation of it. That’s a lot of responsibility! If you’re managing a Twitter presence on behalf of your company. Whatever name you pick. In Chapter 11. To operate as a successful business presence on Twitter: ✓ Master the art of give and take. and for businesses to mesh well with user expectations. You can read about strategies and case studies in Chapter 11 (no bankruptcy pun intended). We explain how to make this change in Chapter 2. No matter what you name your Twitter presence. but your business — and for some companies.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice you say you are — and you can take your account in the direction that makes the most sense to you as you evolve. We go over some tips and thoughts on how to make your Twitter voice your own in the section “You as you on Twitter. so the case can also be made not to always have two different (business and personal) accounts. 177 Your business on Twitter Can you use something as simple as Twitter for business? Absolutely! However. ✓ Give your audience. ✓ Figure out how to engage your Twitter base in conversation. you need a voice and personality that’s uniquely yours. we go over how businesses can best take advantage of Twitter. that may mean tens of thousands of people. Before you start tweeting on behalf of your business. know what users expect from brands and businesses. you can’t exactly adopt the usual salesperson “Sell! Sell! Sell!” mentality on Twitter. and customers a reason to read your tweets. That said. Getting used to how businesses operate on Twitter can prevent you from making a serious faux pas down the road. companies and businesses need to understand how to navigate the landscape as a brand. . If you’re representing a large company (such as @JetBlue or @Starbucks). we highly encourage you to start a separate account for yourself so that you can get used to the service. clients. your Twitter presence might be a little more complicated because you’re not representing just yourself. and how customers like to be approached. a lot of what makes the best business accounts great is their personality and humanity.” later in this chapter. Twitter is a conversational medium. you can change it at any time on your Twitter account’s Settings page.
For example. The social capital (trust. use a real photo of yourself as your avatar and put your company logo on the Twitter background that you use for your page. but users don’t mistake you for the company’s official twitterer. that tweet they share from you isn’t private. Over time. Twitter was built with personal connections in mind. Also. you let people know that you’re affiliated with the company. you can keep up with — and even make new — friends you might otherwise not contact often. Twitter is personal. disclosure is a good idea. Twitter removes many communication barriers. However. thought leadership. Many personal Twitterers still tend to use Twitter in this manner. ✓ Making it personal: You don’t have to include any business information on Twitter if you don’t want to. ✓ Introducing your business: Regardless of whether you plan to build your business by using Twitter “just as a person. Enabling the privacy feature ensures that no one. has access to your updates.” you might want to include some information about your occupation and company in your Twitter profile. and more) that you earn within the Twitter community may lead to new opportunities for you and for your business. . your opinions and statements may be biased because of your job. A few things to consider for your personal Twitter presence: ✓ Keeping your tweets private: If it helps you feel more comfortable with your personal use of Twitter. so in the interests of transparency. Twitter was originally popular helping individuals keep in touch with their friends and acquaintances via mini-updates. Note: If your friends choose to retweet something pithy you said. If you’re twittering as an individual who works at a company. it’s a minor inconvenience that you may be willing to accept if you really feel strongly about protecting your personal updates from the world. so dress up your profile and adjust your settings in a way that makes sense to you and what you want to get out of your Twitter experience. and perhaps add a link back to your company’s online presence. updating a close circle of friends about thoughts and happenings in their lives. you can set your updates to Private. setting your updates to Private also prevents Twitter Search from picking up your tweets. other than the users you authorize. By using this setup. it’s just as powerful for individuals who really have no intention of conducting any sort of business on it (although business might happen accidentally). Be sure you follow your company’s regulations regarding what you’re allowed to share.178 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter You as you on Twitter Although Twitter can be a powerful tool for business owners and employees. many Apple employees can’t reveal that they work for the company.
We’ve always spent time with colleagues. and it’s really hard to say. but it will influence the size and shape of your network. followers probably expect that nearly all tweets from that account will relate to that business. Want to be uber-personal all the time? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is nothing wildly new.” (On Twitter. If you cover both business and personal stuff on your account but aren’t an official “for the business” twitterer. Also. “Your mileage will vary. but you can definitely do it. it can handle many facets of your life. it can be good to go easy on how frequently you tweet about business-only stuff. Twitter is a pretty “what you give is what you get” kind of a place. and other aspects of themselves all rolled together. We get asked for a specific ratio all the time. Because Twitter is built for human communications. and our professional network at the golf course. please remember. you just have to find your own balance. but most successful brand accounts stay . attending charity events. as in life. if you want to connect with people in a genuine. clients. or overboard personally all the time. strictly business-promotional) all the time may have a pretty hard time growing much of an engaged base. you may find your audience shrinking. For long-term sustainable value.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice 179 Mixing business with pleasure Some of the most successful Twitter personalities have embraced Twitter by transparently sharing personal. it’s @dummies). If you’re updating under your business handle (for us. and violate your followers’ expectations too much. Give yourself time to discover what you’re comfortable doing. Present yourself the way you feel most comfortable. off-topic. Some find balancing your personal life and your professional life on Twitter tricky at first. professional. #ymmv) Try a mix that’s comfortable to you and then just see whether you’re getting the results you hoped for. out to dinner. We don’t really know anyone who completely stops talking about work when out with friends — or vice versa — because work (whether we like it or not) is a big part of who we all are. true engagement beats tonnage any day. As car ads say. unless you’re really constrained for business reasons and need to rein it in. Don’t be offended if it’s not everybody’s cup of tea. Your true voice is often the best bet. Everyone needs to strike a balance. It’s simple: People like to do business with people they like. family. they’re following that account for business info! If you’re really inconsistent. After all. Accounts that are nothing but business (or worse. It’s all about balance Balance is important on Twitter. mutually beneficial way. Most networking events have a highly social component to them. the number of followers is much less important than the quality of the conversations. and the like.
multidimensional person. follower growth. or politics without revealing all your deepest secrets. You can also definitely connect with people on more public personal topics like sports. If you feel that your update stream comes off as too sales-y. think carefully about how much of your private matters you want to share. health. because you’ve earned the trust and attention of your readers. yes. you need to be genuine on Twitter and establish yourself as a trustworthy. but being really negative. Think of some updates as “give” and other updates as “take”: When you share or talk about things that are genuinely useful and helpful to customers. then back off on the selling and stick to providing value. self-indulgent. and not a selfish peddler of goods. re-tweets. books. Want to know if the balance you strike is effective? Re-read your tweets at the end of the day or the end of the week and keep an eye on replies. Using your real name adds to your value as an individual. Be yourself Like with the individual and business-only accounts. and very honest. it’s very possible you’ll find supportive people on Twitter. Just remember that promotional tweets that aren’t framed from the perspective of your customer’s needs too often come across as a “take” because you’re asking for followers to buy what you’re selling. you may even get into a more in-depth conversation with a twitterer via DM or leave Twitter altogether via e-mail.180 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter relatively on topic. Be real. Twitter’s about being a genuine individual. Occasional mention of your love life. Your goal should be to permit your followers to get a good understanding of what your business offers and come to trust you as who you are. you’re providing something they want. When you really need to talk about those things. and interest in you. Twitter gives your followers a lot of information about you. or tedious about the same will put people off. It’s a subtle difference but an important point to establish yourself as genuine. Transparency about who you are and what you do can go a long way toward growing your Twitter foundation. followers probably want to hear about you and how you’re going about your business. confidence. be sure to give your name in your bio. who you are and what you represent. That sets the stage for occasionally promoting the goods or services that you sell. TV. or over your favorite beverage. . movies. the numbers of people clicking links you share. and other more personal stuff can be very funny. Over time. And a good Twitter foundation is key to establishing a stable and growing Twitter network. If you’re an individual twitterer. Having found something in common or someone who wants to help. very humanizing. At the same time. Make the bulk of the content that you add to Twitter about you and the value that you provide (as a person and through your work). and. That builds trust. Just as in other business interactions. IM.
if you want to engage other cyclists. it’s that easy. Think about the kinds of people you’d like to talk to or the subjects you’d like to discuss through Twitter. If you’ve spent time cultivating a network that works for you. Viewing your network Although you have little direct control over who follows you. your cycling network will grow. start talking about it and search for other users already chatting about the subject. it’s pretty hard to determine who your audience will be — your followers grow based on what value you can provide for other users. it’s helpful to think about your audience. the Tour de France.) You don’t have to be one-dimensional in your Twitter chat — if you want to engage cyclists. Many fellow twitterers are willing to give you advice about how to overcome a business challenge or situation. Want to communicate with other avid cyclists on Twitter? Search keywords and look to see who tweets about major cycling events. Over time. you have many resources at your fingertips. you don’t always and only have to talk about cycling.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice As a person on Twitter. People understand that you have more to you than a single activity or idea (unless you’re a company or targeted Twitter account. for which the implicit rules are a little different — see “Your business on Twitter. so don’t feel that you need to talk about only one thing to be of value to your target audience. if you want to grow your Twitter network. Yes. . Browse through your list of Followers and click through to open some of their profiles to get a general idea of who’s following you (on any Twitter screen. if you’re trying to reach other cyclists to talk about racing.” earlier in this chapter). Ask them! 181 Identifying Your Audience Whether you’re a business or an individual on Twitter. When you start using Twitter. you might find value in talking about your business problems in the open. Trying to build up business? Target your customers. Send updates that are relevant to whomever you’d like to reach or about the topics that interest you and engage yourself in that conversation. just talk a bit more about cycling than anything else. Be yourself and talk about the things you like. If you haven’t transplanted your existing social networks onto Twitter. click the Followers link under your name in the sidebar). you can easily see what sort of user you’re attracting. So. (You can find out about searching for users and topics in Chapters 5 and 9. or the latest in derailleur technology. but. That’s all. it may be a good time to do that and to put a bit of time and effort into expanding your network.
meaning a sign of successful Twitter use. This tool enables you to see who you’re talking to. and no one really expects you to be on-point all the time. If you’re a business. and what you’re talking about — all in graph form. . Figure 10-2 shows an example of the type of information TweetStats reports. People aren’t one-dimensional. getting a sense of what you’re talking about and whom you’re talking to can come in handy — it enables you to target your tweets to topics that are most interesting to your followers. Reaching people and businesses you never expected to reach is most likely not a bad thing. Diversifying your network You can help guide who tends to follow you by talking about a myriad of topics. Although you may have interests that you talk about more than others. Figure 10-2: You can see a graph of your tweet density. you might realize that you’re drawing unexpected people as followers.tweetstats.182 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter When you look into who’s following you. One of our favorite tools for understanding how often and what you’re updating is TweetStats (www. If you’re twittering as an individual. unpredicted followers could show that you’re increasing your business’s social reach. you’re broadening your horizons — and other users consider you and your tweets interesting. when you’re talking.com).
Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice
Targeting specific networks
If you’re targeting specific people with whom you want to interact more regularly, find a way to add value to the interactions for them. You can target these types of people by searching keywords and hashtags for that topic and seeing who uses them and who the real leaders appear to be. Once you’re following a few key people within that interest area, look for whom they talk to, listen to, and value. For example, if you’re a gardener, check to see who Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) follows and talks to about gardening topics. Click through any appealing @replies and consider following those people. You can also use this information to get a sense of what’s important to any given twitterer and what types of information they like to receive. With Twitter, you can essentially browse not only the connections between people, but also between topics of interest. You can also easily drop into active ongoing conversations about specific themes. One or two key people can lead you to an entire subject matter landscape on Twitter. In a very real sense, an individual or Twitter account that represents something can become the foundation for a community. Likewise, if you’re trying to target a specific type of individual, go to the Twitter streams of those individuals and see what they’re tweeting about. Join the conversation that they’re having with other people and engage those other people, as well. Over time, if you’re adding value to that conversation, then other people look to you as a person who’s involved and relevant in that community, whether it’s computer programming, baking cupcakes, or cancer research.
While you start to gain a foothold within communities on Twitter, you might want to get a sense of what your network looks like and how far your updates travel. As you read, please bear in mind that some of the less measurable results are the most important. The most important thing to measure is the thing you’re actually trying to accomplish, not just numbers for numbers’ sake. Are you meeting new friends? Finding new business leads? Sharing information widely about issues important to you? Do your messages spread? In her keynotes, Laura argues that messages can be much more important influencers within Twitter than influential accounts and individuals, because good messages get repeated. A truly great message, even if it starts in quiet little corners of Twitter among people with small following networks, will echo and get repeated until eventually it reaches much of the network.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Twitter itself has a very primitive way of measuring your reach: You have following and followers counts. Although those numbers would seem to provide a good baseline for understanding how far your updates go and to whom, they don’t say much about what types of people follow you and how influential those followers are. In response, the Twitter community has developed a number of tools to help gauge and measure influence and reach. Less ethical people aggressively boost their follower numbers, sometimes through questionable habits like following people just until they follow back and then dropping them to go follow someone else. Important lessons? Don’t automatically trust an account with a really high number of followers. Don’t build your network around high numbers at the cost of high relevance and high engagement. Twinfluence (www.twinfluence.com), shown in Figure 10-3, and TwitterGrader (http://twitter.grader.com), shown in Figure 10-4, can help you figure out how you compare with other users, but even they use fairly arbitrary measures. You can also use these sites to determine who the popular users are in your geographical location.
Figure 10-3: Twinfluence stats, showing @algore’s popularity.
Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice
For major cities, such as New York, Boston, and San Francisco, there might just be too many twitterers for these tools to really help you; but in smaller towns and metropolises, these statistics might quickly help you identify some real community leaders whose tweets would contain valuable information about the area and connection to others there. For all intents and purposes, these numbers don’t really measure influence or reach. The results you can get from these sites are so imprecise and subjective that they provide only a rough understanding of how influence flows through the Twitter ecosystem. First and foremost, use Twitter to communicate; and, although high follower counts may indicate genuine popularity, they can be gamed and don’t necessarily indicate importance or quality. Laura goes so far as to say, “The most important, influential person in your Twitter stream is you; be proactive about your life.”
Figure 10-4: Twitter Grader, suggesting the humble
Understanding your extended network
Twitter, by itself, can tell you only the number of people you follow and the number of people who follow you. As described in the previous section, those numbers give you just part of the story.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
If 100 people follow you and communicate with you, then your actual extended network is much larger than 100 people because conversations relay messages and connect new people on Twitter. Say that Follower #86 has 1,000 followers. Whenever Follower #86 mentions your name, 1,000 people receive an update that contains your name. And you may find that kind of exposure quite useful. Twitter is an excellent way to “harness the power of loose ties” or benefit from friends of friends of friends who are more likely to know about things nobody in your social group knows. If Boston-based Laura was trying to locate a venue in Nashville, Tennessee, to hold a Twitter marketing seminar, she might send an update that reads, “Trying to locate a good 700-person venue in Nashville to give a talk. A place to stay would be nice, too. Suggestions?” Because thousands of people read Laura’s Twitter stream, chances are good someone lives in Nashville. If any of those handful wanted to connect Laura with a local business owner, they might ask their own networks, who may have an answer based on their own geography. In this sense, Laura’s primary network gives her secondary access to all her follower’s networks, as well. It’s pretty cool how friends of friends can end up becoming your direct friends, too. Say you’re following five friends, and two of them are constantly communicating (via @replies) with some other person whom you don’t know. Out of curiosity, you may start following that other person just to make sense of your friends’ conversations. Because you’re friends with two people that the other person talks to frequently, he follows you back. Now, all of a sudden, you have both a larger Twitter network and extended network. Although finding new and interesting people in your Twitter network happens organically, the Twitter community has come up with a couple of tools to help grow your network in a way that’s relevant to you. You can browse interesting tags for people in the Twitter directory www.wefollow.com that Digg CEO Kevin Rose (@kevinrose) started in spring 2009, or the service www. MrTweet.com (@mrtweet), a program that combs your Twitter network and recommends new people for you to follow. In our experience, Mr. Tweet is pretty accurate in automatically finding people who are relevant in scope to what you talk about and what your network looks like. Give it a try!
Keeping Your Tweets Authentic
Because of the frequency and personal nature of what people share on Twitter, any twitterer absolutely must be genuine and real, whether she’s representing a business or tweeting as an individual. Joining Twitter as a private citizen is the route many users take, even if they have business to promote. Twitter is ideally suited for personal connection, and you can often more easily make yourself accessible and personable when you use Twitter as a person, not as your business.
Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice
Joining the conversation
You see the phrase “join the conversation” bandied about a lot on Twitter. If you’re representing a business, you can get a dialog going very easily: Just search for users who have mentioned your products or the types of problems you solve and follow them. If you have something relevant to say, engage them in conversation using the mention they made as a starting point. We go over how businesses should approach using Twitter in Chapter 11, so read through it to avoid any complications or Twitter faux pas. Singling users out and asking them questions may be appropriate for some products, but that approach may be completely inappropriate for others. Twitter’s just another engagement point for your communications, marketing, and public relations, so know the rules of the road before you start driving too fast. If you’re representing a business, mentioning little-known facts or interesting things about what you do or sell can start a conversation. You can also talk about your staff; tell interested twitterers how you (or someone else) make what you sell; or take the easiest route of all and ask your fellow Twitter users what they think of your product or service, and how they think you can improve or expand.
By way of getting started, many new users start sharing links with a bit of commentary on their Twitter stream, as shown in Figure 10-5. For many users, sending a link provides a great way to get a commentary started about something you find interesting. Give it a shot and see what happens. Here are the basics for sharing links. (You’ll probably want to use a link shortener most of the time, though. Review Chapter 9 for a refresher on how to do that.) 1. Copy the link’s URL and paste it in the What’s Happening? box. 2. Type a comment about the link in the What’s Happening? box (either before or after the link). 3. Post your tweet by clicking the Update button. Usually after you post the tweet, Twitter shortens the URL for you using TinyURL. Some users post a lot of links — some users like to use RSS or other tools to automatically update their Twitter streams with links to interesting articles that they’re reading. Others just post links by hand.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Figure 10-5: This update comments on a link and includes that link.
Linking to interesting articles changes the way that your Twitter audience perceives you. Remember, people follow you because you add value to their Twitter streams; but if you flood your stream with links that aren’t relevant to your audience, you may start to annoy some of your following. By adding a link to a tweet that you post, you draw attention to the targeted Web page, photo or video, and you’re implicitly endorsing it as a good use of your followers’ time. Abusing that assumption will erode the interest and trust your followers have in you and reduce the effectiveness of your network. If you do a lot of linking, review Chapter 9 so that you can track links like a pro. By using tools such as bit.ly (http://bit.ly), you can find out which Twitter users are linking to the same articles, which is a great way to start a conversation.
Image is everything
Your update stream is by far the most important part of your Twitter profile. However, your profile’s presentation also needs to reflect something about you. In the same way that you wear a nice set of clothes to a job interview, you want to dress up your profile so that it reflects the image that you want to convey to the world.
you can do your Twitter profile in your corporate colors. Be sure that you’re comfortable with the world seeing whatever you put in your profile. 189 Figure 10-6: You can “sign” Tweets by author by using cotags in CoTweet. However. Laura is an adviser for @CoTweet. let readers know who each set of initials belongs to. shown in Figure 10-6. and when you present an image that reflects who you are. Use a service such as CoTweet (http://cotweet. If you’re representing a large. (Note: In the interest of full disclosure. to mark each tweet with its author. other people become willing to be honest and open with you. and in the 160-character bio on Twitter. Whether you’re a business or a private citizen. People like to know who they’re talking to.) Check out Chapter 11 for more recommendations on the best ways for businesses to tweet. . com). your followers and potential followers react much more favorably if you include in your Twitter profile a photo of yourself and a link to something about you. anyone in the world can view your Twitter profile (at http://twitter. iconic brand on Twitter. because Twitter’s strength is in personal connections.com. Too many team members to list? You can show them off in your background graphic the way @CoTweet itself does.com/yourusername).Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice Although you may have your update stream protected in your Twitter account’s settings. you need to have actual people representing your brand’s Twitter presence.
Don’t be afraid to voice your support for social causes and charities. Twitter is a network built on trust and relationships. (Get the scoop on trolls in the sidebar “Don’t feed the trolls. and people start to avoid you and stop taking you seriously. . or whatever. influence. both on. liberal. and the more fellow twitterers know about you and about the things you have in common. Bring some value to the twitterverse by adding your authentic contributions. moderate. the more connections and ideas will flow in your network. and other hot-button topics. For example. sex. remember that you can easily forget to be nice to people behind the safety of a monitor and keyboard thousands of miles away. apathetic. so as not to offend your potential customers. and otherwise paying attention to the genuine voice. after all. a digital extension of real life. be yourself. and social capital.) Evangelizing your causes When you’re on Twitter as an individual. and being insincere jeopardizes the quality and effectiveness of your network. can experience tremendous growth and return on investment from Twitter because they make real contributions and build up a rich base of trust. human voice. Try not to engage in arguments over petty things — this behavior gets you branded as a troll.190 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Being genuine Authentic people and businesses.” in this chapter. Don’t try to come off as something you’re not just to appeal to people. if you share a favorite cause or a local event in a way that makes it interesting to others. using Twitter in a real and interactive way. If you’re representing a business or tweeting on behalf of your company. Your update stream speaks volumes about you. You lose some of that hardwon trust that you’ve been building since you joined Twitter. By tweeting about your cause. as you hope to be treated. People respond much better to an authentic. you probably want to avoid politics. They engage more closely because they feel comfortable responding. you’ll attract those with common interests.and offline. retweeting. if you’re tweeting about politics. so if you want to engage in that type of dialog. Treat others with respect. whatever those may be. and you can have a positive online experience. whether you’re a conservative. They may get involved and show support. feel free to agree or disagree with someone — Twitter is. Even though you want to be genuine and real at all times. religion. you both spread awareness about what’s important to you (which may lead to more contributions for that cause or charity) and give your audience a better idea of who you are as a person.
You feed the trolls by acknowledging their existence and allowing them to take control of the dialog. Because so many conversations happen so quickly on Twitter. and otherwise being a poor citizen of the Internet. but after you find one person who “gets” you. Keeping Twitter Personal . but they have to make a real effort to do that. is into that subject. making rude and insulting comments on someone’s blog or replying to someone’s tweets with personal attacks.) On the other side of the coin. You might have to tweet for a few days or weeks before you connect with them.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice 191 Don’t feed the trolls In Internet parlance.000 people (or more) who are directly and indirectly connected to you. Even when you’re talking to your trusted Twitter network. because your tweets won’t show up in their timeline if you block them. and anyone on the Web can link to them. but that’s a pretty aggressive move if they’re simply annoying. 500. users need to be on the lookout for others who insist on asking inappropriatelycharged questions. Because Twitter’s a network based on trust. They can still view your public profile — assuming you haven’t protected your tweets — and they can even still reply to you if they want. Google and other search engines still index them. One of the first was Beth Kanter (@kanter) whose network sent a Cambodian woman to college in a matter of a few hours of Twitter conversation about it and links to a donation site. So. someone. but Not Too Personal Above all else. Spread the love! Many have raised money for worthy causes right on Twitter. sometimes about touchy subjects. and they eventually get bored and go away. 5. you may reduce your chances of having to hear from them again. too. a troll is someone who intentionally posts messages to upset people — for example. see Chapter 13. For more about Twitter and charity. some people get a little intimidated by the thought of tweeting about something serious. remember that Twitter is a public forum. whatever you feel like tweeting about. . (If you block them. the floodgates open — hundreds more twitterers start to hear what you have to say and want to share with you. you can often easily identify trolls and block them. a Twitter update that you send about the fundraiser might get repeated and reach 50. Some people actually decide to not even try Twitter because they worry that they don’t have anything interesting to say! We promise. if you’re passionate about cancer research. Just ignore them.000. which will show up on your Mentions tab in the sidebar. your tweets are very much public. . or 50. saying questionable things to users. somewhere on Twitter. . domestic violence. or another cause and want to have a fundraiser for it.
use an even more secure medium like e-mail or even encryption. All the public exposure that Twitter offers can really help promote you and your business.com/direct_messages to send DMs. ✓ Maintain boundaries. or other valuable private data by Twitter (or even e-mail. but that exposure also comes with some responsibilities: ✓ Use common sense! Don’t publicly tweet or @reply someone your address.192 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter You can adjust your settings to prevent search engines and the occasional passerby from viewing your updates by protecting your account. you would not be the first person to accidentally post a private DM publicly. or other personal details that you should keep private. double-check your d username tweets before posting. instant message. so casual mentions of unique names remain findable for a long time. You want to be extremely careful if you decide to send sensitive information by DM. Twitterers commonly refer to relatives. Protecting personal details Many people opt to not even use the real names of family members or children who don’t use Twitter. even better. such as your kids. Never send passwords. so keep in the habit of using just ‘d’. Use a bit of caution and ask permission before tweeting someone’s real name (or any other information that we mention). if you made a typo or wrote dm username. via e-mail. Keeping your personal details private protects both you and anyone in your care. credit card numbers. In fact. whether it’s for business or friendship. and kids by nicknames or initials. ✓ Use DMs cautiously. or phone. Send that kind of information via DM (direct message) — or. they’d likely appear visibly . just to give those loved ones a layer of protection. in our opinion. Especially before you agree to meet someone in person. the problem was so rampant that you can use the dm shortcode to DM someone. Typing d username and then your message does send a private direct message from any Twitter interface. To avoid accidental updates. as shown in Figure 10-7. But trust us. But. Try to be aware of how you are (or aren’t) maintaining boundaries with the people you interact with frequently on Twitter. Twitter is a powerful influence on search engines. that doubles your chances for a typo. or use http://twitter. for data that secure). social security numbers. for example. take a look at how you’ve interacted in the past and make sure that you’ve kept your relationship clear from the start. make it a habit to use the Message button on a user’s page. uses her daughters’ initials S and Z. Better yet. If Laura even used their first names on her tweets (which all also contain her last name). friends. phone number. Laura.
Dive into information about your health or your private life in private conversation. Laura loves the unique charms of her neighborhood and street. Although being authentic and a little bit personal goes a long way on Twitter. Maximizing privacy and safety After you Twitter for a while. and start piecing things together. preferring Boston as specific enough. anyone could go through the information you’ve published. . someone can start tracking where you’ve been and what you’re doing. your loved ones. 193 Figure 10-7: Laura (@ pistachio) referencing her spawn in a tweet. The same words of caution go for any number of personal details. everyone understands that you need a layer of privacy to keep you. If you mention who you spend time with or that you always hang out at a certain cafe. later on. and the details about them safe. We don’t want to scare you — but whenever you post in a public medium. but she keeps the details really fuzzy. Don’t believe her? A Google search for Z Fitton (or Z Fitton Pistachio) brings up a few recent tweets about her antics.Chapter 10: Finding Your Tweet Voice in Google search results for their firstname lastname. you’ve given away a lot of information about yourself.
and anything else you wouldn’t want the whole world to know) ✓ Vital health details (such as diseases you have or a diagnosis you just received — unless you’re comfortable with the world knowing about it) ✓ Details about schools and other locations where you or people you know spend time — you never know who might drop in after seeing your tweet on a Google search . your yearly income.194 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Things you probably shouldn’t say on Twitter You definitely want to keep some information to yourself when you’re tweeting away: ✓ Your home address ✓ Your home or cellphone number ✓ Your kids’ names ✓ Your financial information (such as credit card numbers.
Chapter 11 Twitter for Business In This Chapter ▶ Putting your business on Twitter ▶ Using Twitter to make your business look good ▶ Creating a network on Twitter and communicating with it ▶ Getting and giving useful information on Twitter o. and lower expenses. it’s that Twitter has the potential to filter into every possible aspect of business as a versatile communications platform and problem-solving tool. . S The Business of Twitter People often ask Laura. “What’s the business use of e-mail?” It’s not that the technologies are similar or play the same role. It can fundamentally change communication and problem-solving. Twitter can impact pretty much everything. Most of the potential business applications of Twitter are just starting to become understood. explain what some other businesses have tried. Sales professionals can use it to generate leads. publishers to discover new content. Twitter can have powerful effects on personal and professional networks. Both technologies are extremely open communication platforms that have uses way beyond the marketing and customer-engagement layer. “What’s the business use of Twitter?” Laura frequently answers with a different question. In this chapter. journalists to locate sources. and point you in the right direction to get started yourself. we cover some of the essentials. accommodate HR challenges. you want to find out more about what Twitter can do for your business. You can listen to and harness the massive flow of ideas and information passing through Twitter so that you can advance your business objectives. as well as match resources. or any business to create better relationships with customers. from the way enterprise software works to how project status is shared.
or extend an experience to a remote audience. Also. Link back to your main Web site. the content of your business’s tweets needs to honestly. your company logo is appropriate. Make sure that the Twitter Bio section. it helps to take a look at some ways Twitter might fit with your brand. how can you get started? You can probably guess that your profile is your business’s face on Twitter. and generally increase brand recognition. turn to Chapter 2. You can use Twitter to generate traffic to your business’s Web site. With a widget on your site. rather than through the Web page itself. assume that most everyone will at least look at your Profile page — if not the Web URL that you provide within that profile — before deciding whether or not to follow what you’re doing on Twitter. Even though many people use Twitter through a service on their phone or desktop.196 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter You can use Twitter to create ad-hoc communities. First. and in turn. transparently show what you’re doing on Twitter.) After you create a great Profile page. You can sell directly — if you do it right — or you can just develop an inexpensive listening and conversation post among the very people whose problems your business solves. (For more on polishing your profile. Dress nicely on Twitter: Fill out the whole Profile page when you set up your business’s Twitter account and upload an avatar (in some cases. Putting Your Best Face Forward Businesses can use Twitter to talk to their customers and potential customers. organize and publicize live events. Introduce the people behind your business’s Twitter account — they’re the people your Twitter readers and connections actually talk to. It can even make your company and brands easier for users to find on search engines such as Google. Given that Twitter has so many potential uses that are so diverse. You need to verify that the business account is actually yours and promote the availability of the Twitter stream to all your customers. link to your Twitter account from your Web site. short though it may be. you can even tweet to your customers (keeping freshly updated content front and center) without them having ever even heard of Twitter. tells Twitter users about your business. so let the individuals behind the keyboard shine through. You can use it to solicit feedback. what do you do? Here are a few simple ways to get out of the Twitter background and into public awareness: . but in others an individual photo is better).
and meetings to your business’s advantage. Twitter makes finding ways to meet and engage with customers in real life easy. While you listen and talk on Twitter. Pay attention to what’s going on around you on Twitter. and ideas that are relevant to your field. you absolutely need to engage other people on Twitter. you can start to understand its potential. Sometimes when you find people talking about subjects relevant to your business you can offer helpful contributions to their conversations! When it comes to business. or off-topic. and the other half about your business. You can learn a lot by listening. that you can make only one or two of every ten tweets personal. 197 . If you think of Twitter as a giant consumer sentiment engine. public relations. events. For the average business Twitter account. ✓ Balance. you can get useful information from Twitter in many ways. Bring your business’s conversations and connections beyond the 140-character limit. in part. but more importantly for you. set up your account to curate and cultivate links about events. news. If you prefer to deliver business value all the time. Whatever you do. This ratio depends. they may already be talking about you and your business. for example. be useful. ✓ Engage. which is what Twitter is all about. You want to keep people engaged. You might want to decide. If you have a more conversational Twitter account that you still want to connect to your professional life. valuable. ✓ Connect. you need to have a good ratio of personal (or conversational) tweets to business (or promotional) ones. Twitter users have fascinating things to say about pretty much everything. make about half your tweets personal. Use the ability to take conversations offline and into the real world via tweetups. and customer service (which we talk about in the following sections). Twitter is a communications tool. Offer value. you can opt to put a particularly personal or original slant on promotional tweets. it works best when you make friends and have real conversations right in the Twitter stream. making them notably funny. You may want to come up with an approximate numerical ratio that accomplishes your balance goals. fun. on how much you interact on Twitter and what you hope to accomplish — not to mention the nature of your business and your target audience or customer base. essays. and therein lies its largest business value.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business ✓ Listen. and although it’s based on a one-to-many concept. or interesting to your readers. Alternately. You’re going to want to find as many ways as you can to tune in. in addition to promotional tweets so that you can still push your brand (without making that the only thing you do). From using Twitter Search to sophisticated social-media listening tools (see Chapter 9). be sure to also interact with other twitterers.
Journalists and PR practitioners are among some of Twitter’s most avid users. Twitter simply gives you a way to make what you do more accessible to people who might otherwise not hear your message. Twitter is just one more tool — albeit a powerful and efficient one — to add to your arsenal if public relations is important to your business. endless connections. It was Twitter innovator @PRSarahEvans who came up with the idea for #journchat. Many of them don’t yet see the opportunity. In an interview. networking opportunities. and the future of media. others can pick them up and spread them around. and interesting ways. It offers global reach. Armed with . a promotion platform. if you float your ideas out there in genuine. On Monday nights. Many twitterers — from individuals to large corporations — report scoring numerous press opportunities as a result of engaging other twitterers and sharing on the Twitter platform.198 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Public relations You can use Twitter as a fantastic public-relations channel. or they’re thinking about it too narrowly. sources. Twitter is an exceedingly powerful tool for detecting breaking events. and the community she built catapulted her from obscure community college PR practitioner to an extremely well-known social-media innovator. and immediate event planning and feedback. and journalists. they can be a powerful way to introduce people and pass along contact information. and they do some pretty interesting things with it. John A. Because #journchat is an agreed-on tag and a longstanding event. Byrne (@JohnAByrne) of BusinessWeek implemented a similar standing event (Wednesday nights. people know to point their search tools (or http:// search. a reporter was surprised how easily Laura could rattle off half a dozen sources that the reporter might like to talk to.twitter. but you do frequently find yourself way ahead of the game when a story breaks if you’re on Twitter. Indeed. You don’t always get in-depth analysis (at least. whatever kind of business you work for. Some traditional public relations firms may be intimidated by Twitter’s potential to connect stories. Best of all. Because Twitter usernames are short and frequently easy to remember. You may have heard about Twitter in the first place in the context of a mainstream news story about an event of global importance that was first reported via citizen journalism on Twitter — such as the emergency landing of a commercial airplane in the Hudson River in January 2009.com) at that word and watch the conversation scroll by. professionals from both sides of the field gather to talk about current stories. not until links to longer writings about the story begin to spread). their professions. valid. for those of you playing along at home) when he went onto Twitter one night to answer questions and encouraged the use of the #editorchat hashtag. all by simply tagging their tweets with the word #journchat.
you may need to tweet a little less frequently to avoid letting spamminess make you less effective. abilities.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business these Twitter handles. Here are some tips to make your Twitter-based public relations more userfriendly and successful: ✓ Keep it real! The be-genuine Twitter rule applies at all times. Sometimes. answer it in your own public feed so that you can continue to generate organic interest in your promotion. Twitter provides all users access to influential journalists. even when you’re embarking on a publicity campaign (often especially when you’re attempting to drive sales or awareness to your product. and if you consistently add insightful and worthwhile thoughts to their Twitter streams. ✓ Listen to feedback. ✓ Be genuinely helpful. On Twitter. Give people an unselfish reason to pay attention to you. If someone asks you a question. and help to those conversations. We don’t mean free giveaways or money. or RT) to their own networks. Remember to space it out. writers. Tread with respect. or site). How can you tell? Watch for effectiveness. Twitter’s users can be very turned off by empty marketing banter. retweeting themselves (and passing your messages along for you). service. and provide unselfish solutions. Come up with a pithy or witty statement about your promotion that inspires people in your network to share and pass it along (to retweet the statement. and people from all walks of life. It takes more than just promotions. Just because you want to see fast results doesn’t mean that you should bombard your Twitter followers with link spam (numerous tweets that contain links to your business) or constant nagging about whatever you’re trying to promote. If you use it consistently and well. Do people click your links? Do they retweet your messages without you having to ask? Do they complain that you’re being promotional. Followers listen to you for the value you add. the journalist used the profiles behind those usernames to get a quick snapshot of those users’ interests. Answer others who happen to tweet related questions. Watch for conversations about topics relevant to your company or product. ideas. but make sure that your answers aren’t selfish or too pushy. do they just not say much at all? Use trackable link shorteners so that you can see which of your tweets people are bothering to click or. even better. ✓ Offer incentives. overly aggressive promotions can slow your progress and reduce your audience. or worse. ✓ Remember your balance. they’ll be there for you when the roles reverse and you need them. ✓ Give your idea wings. plus links to further detailed information about them and an easy way to make contact. but value. bloggers. Getting your message retweeted is much more effective than hammering your point home on your own. and points of view. you can 199 .
and by showing a desire to help and respond quickly without making excuses or shifting blame. You don’t need to be a huge company (and you certainly don’t need to be suffering from a bad reputation) to create an effective business presence on Twitter. By listening diligently for mentions of their companies and quickly extending a helping hand.200 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter find powerful. such as Comcast and Dell. How did they do it? Or. Customer service Big name companies. Having a Twitter account for your business can make your business more accessible. But Twitter alone can’t fix back-end customer-service infrastructure problems such as overloaded call centers or poorly trained representatives who have no real power to help. improving the company image for even more people. Presence and timely response on Twitter can make the difference between a firestorm of complaints and a quickly-managed situation. use Twitter as part of an overall strategy to reinvent their reputations for poor customer service and turn things around for their brands. If you’re at a small company. They got in the trenches of social media through Twitter and engaged their customer bases by facing criticisms and complaints head-on. Even when the products and services sold under those brands elicit unpleasant reactions from the public. Used artfully. press coverage).com/twitter) as hubs for public customer-service responses. how can you do it? Both companies set up Twitter accounts (@ComcastCares and all the Dell accounts listed at http://dell. Twitter can broaden your ability to reach out widely and listen carefully at almost no expense (only some time and possibly tools) while saving you the cost of having an entire customer-service department. Better yet. Twitter provides a great customer-service channel for small and medium-sized businesses. Here’s the caveat: No one has yet figured out whether Twitter-based customer service will still be such a great shortcut once Twitter grows even bigger and more popular. inexpensive ways to share messages that help solve people’s problems and gain visibility for your work. Comcast and Dell have generated substantial goodwill (not to mention. having a real person reach out to help in a public forum can do a lot to prevent or dissipate consumer anger. remaining in closer contact with consumers alone will not fix that. not to mention . too. Twitter users around the world can witness this transformation and watch the companies respond to others’ complaints. more importantly. If the company’s customer service system has fundamental problems. Customer service on Twitter allows businesses to catch consumers in their moments of frustration and help them right away. one-to-one contact via Twitter instills a sense of hope that the people behind the company walls aren’t leaving customers hanging.
Over 430 Zappos employees use Twitter. a sweetheart of the Twitter-for-business world. posting on a message board. particularly at first. Don’t believe us? Try searching the word pistachio and the word dough on Google on your computer right now. com/DougH) pretty close to the top of those respective searches. This policy holds true throughout the company’s interactions. Keep going. and an active Twitter account all contain the same keywords. Many satisfied customers send out thank-you tweets that all their contacts see. a blog post.zappos. by Christopher Locke (@clockerb). Rick Levine (@ricklevine). you may see negativity about your company. and David Weinberger (@dweinberger) (Basic Books).com). 201 Command and control is dead.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business let you help people in real time who have real problems and see instant improvement in how consumers perceive your business. the tweets will probably appear above the Web page or blog post in the search results for that keyword. When you first dive into Twitter for customer service. whether they’re involved in customer service or not. or yes. blogging. Zappos (www.com/ pistachio) and Boston-area PR practitioner Doug Haslam’s profile (http://twitter. Chances are good you’re going to find Laura’s Twitter profile (http://twitter. but the Zapponian culture of helpfulness absolutely shines through Twitter. which gives you instant good public-relations buzz — and that kind of buzz is priceless. What they need to realize is that they no longer “have control of the message” because anyone can publish — by commenting. At Zappos. models an almost perfect implementation of the ideas laid out in The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual. Twitter’s content is very search-engine friendly. and they all take a share in the “Deliver Happiness” mission. employees literally have a mandate to create delightful experiences for customers. The catchphrase? “Deliver happiness.” Each employee who may come in contact with customers is encouraged and empowered to do whatever it takes to help. . When a static Web page. microblogging — complaints about the company in places that anyone can find them. Long live converse! Many companies struggle to come to terms with how they might use social media because they are reluctant to let go of their old “command and control” models of corporate communications. Doc Searls (@dsearls). Letting go of control (you don’t necessarily have control anymore anyhow) of your brand and engaging publicly with dissatisfied customers can really get that goodwill going. The best part about Twitter as a customer-service channel is how you get feedback when a customer leaves satisfied.
202 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Networking on Twitter Whether you do it via Twitter or an old-fashioned Rolodex. . Twitter offers access to all levels of people and businesses. Through a debate in Twitter. Twitter acts as a portable business networking event that you can pop into when the time and availability suit you. your business. and because of @replies and other links between Twitter networks and Twitter users. Take. and to get to know their existing employees and customers. Twitter also efficiently harnesses networks of loose ties — the friends of friends who are more likely to know about job opportunities and job candidates. @IntenseDebate) and DISQUS (http://disqus. and introduce yourself — all in real time. too. the CEOs of competing companies IntenseDebate (http://intensedebate.com. two companies that build comment management software for blogs. Twitter can also help business networking in the employment sector — it’s a fantastic way to meet and evaluate new employees. Building a network comes naturally on Twitter. valuable people efficiently — Twitter can help you build up a genuinely interesting. Bonus: You don’t have to talk to anyone whom you don’t want to.0 technologies to the job market).0” culture (applying so-called Web 2. @disqus). personal. the more your network increases. In so many ways. Freelancers who network and collaborate on projects can use Twitter to find former colleagues from past companies with whom they lost touch. creates a more open and flexible hiring environment for all kinds of companies. they collaborated on some cross-functional features in their otherwise rival products to make both companies’ customers happy and solve a problem. One of the most interesting phenomena on Twitter is the communication and collaboration that can occur while businesses network with one another in public. Entire new horizons of opportunity can open up when you finally connect with the people that are right for you. We really can’t overstate how versatile a networking tool Twitter can be. for example. and also to find new work. If you’re looking for ways to network more effectively — or you want to find interesting. You can build almost any specific type of network on Twitter. astonishingly relevant. Twitter offers a level of transparency that erases normal boundaries and rivalries. to randomly interact with and discover interesting new people along the way. and career success depends heavily on a little thing called your network. You can observe potential employees while they talk about what they know. and powerful network. The platform makes it easy to interact and connect with people and businesses who share your interests and goals.com. from those seeking work or a better social life to CEOs and national politicians. get referrals from people who know them. The more you interact on Twitter. This movement towards a “Hire 2.
You’re in business because you solve problems and fulfill needs for people.” earlier in this chapter.000 in revenues to less than 1. has also started offering Twitter-only promotions. you can probably find people on Twitter who need and want them. his company. But Zappos isn’t the only company finding sales success on Twitter. Having more than 400 employees active on Twitter has improved communication and connection between Zappos’ employees. you can find a unique home on Twitter. These potential customers have questions for you about your item. But after you find and flip that switch from “talking at” to “talking with” potential customers. banked large amounts of social capital (potentially valuable connections with people who know you and care about your work).000 followers — demonstrating that the coupons not only got passed along on Twitter. We talk about Dell as a company that used Twitter to start reversing its reputation as a struggling brand with a poor customer image in the section “Customer service. and led to extensive press coverage and speaking opportunities. people on Twitter can interact with and respond to your company’s information ideas and products in ways that often lead to benefits for both sides. You may need to adjust your messages a bit so that you can shift from a hard-sell philosophy to an attitude of interaction and engagement that doesn’t necessarily follow a direct path to a sale. One of the most popular examples of products and how Twitter can help sell them is @Zappos. like Zappos. but that they probably also got passed along via e-mail to people not even on Twitter. and you — and you can let them talk to you on Twitter about their concerns. The Twitter community embraced Tony and Zappos early on.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business 203 Offering Promotions and Products If you represent a company that has something to sell. and in return. and his personal thoughts — he even operates a separate Twitter account for his cat. But Dell. Whether you want to sell something large (such as used cars) or something small (such as shoes). You can sell-without-selling just about anything on Twitter. such as free shoe giveaways. including his schedule. Zappos periodically offers Twitter-only bonuses to its followers. tweeting links to deep discounts that have generated over $1 million in revenues. in their own way. @DellOutlet is another Twitter success story. Spend your time on Twitter being useful and informative about the types of problems you solve. increased its visibility and reach. your company. Most notably. promote the brand and its products. Zappos is fronted by CEO Tony Hsieh. you can attribute more than $500. and the rest really does follow. Zappos has been a pioneer in business microblogging because a large number of its employees all use Twitter and all. your staff. The airline JetBlue (@jetblue) has also . who tweets about his life.
✓ Follow the 90/10 advice — 90 percent unselfish tweets to 10 percent promotional tweets. place them squarely in Twitter’s elite when it comes to product sales and knowledge contribution. And. the @jetblue team tweeted their location.coupontweet. ✓ Don’t link spam.com). ✓ Don’t hard sell. The advice these women provide on their Twitter accounts and the commerce they offer through their Web sites (http://savvyauntie.com and http://www. whether it’s art. JetBlue gave away 1. The former rapper turned preacher turned producer had a terrible image: bankruptcy. You can replicate their success be keeping these tips in mind: ✓ Be interesting. Of course. But he joined Twitter around the same time that he co-founded a new Web startup. in 2010 for their tenth birthday. photography. bad decisions. Dozens of coupon-aggregating accounts (like @dealtaker) and even Web sites (http:// www. music. . film. Twitter users are incredibly receptive to creative people who tweet — just ask MC Hammer (@MCHammer).com) are emerging to organize these coupons and find the best ones. Notkin and GiftGirl have found unshakable niches with their custom gift-finding service. and anniversaries is actually a pretty commonly tweeted question.cheaptweet.000 tickets to anyone who found them on the streets of New York City. Twitter can become a home away from home. ✓ Be yourself. DanceJam (http://dancejam.giftgirl. and excess. and retweets helped spread the word. ✓ Be genuine (mean what you say). weddings. Those who sell any kind of gift resource can use Twitter to reach their audiences and magnify their impact. Promoting Bands and Artists If you’re in any way in the business of creating. How to find the right gift for loved ones for birthdays. Two women making exceptional use of Twitter for discovering gift-givers in need are Melanie Notkin (@SavvyAuntie) and GiftGirl (@GiftGirl).com and www. or what-have-you. and conversing with followers on Twitter let the world see another side of him.204 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter had great success advertising deals on Twitter: A special $14 cross-country flight offer was snapped up by Twitter users almost instantly. ✓ Be accessible.com).
org/ about. on tour. how can you (as an aspiring musician. and she can attribute some of that increasing reach to contacts that she made on Twitter. fan segments. You can also find out about other members’ tweetups that are relevant to your business. or other work out there for people to sample and play with.org) is an organization that makes it easy for people to license their work so that they retain their copyright but allow it to be shared. artist. but put your music. and opportunities to build your loyal fan base. MC Hammer. So. in the van. upload a short video to YouTube.fm (http://blip. We don’t mean just others in your profession or field who are more successful than you! We also mean people in other fields or areas of creativity that inspire you. film. art. videos. marketing. let them know where you are! Many fellow Twitter users would love to hang out with you if you happen to be in town. or set up a page that features a few Creative Commons–licensed photos. Twitter also helps artists such as Natasha Wescoat (@natasha) increase their prominence in the art world. You don’t have to give away all your hard work. John Mayer (@johncmayer). Westcoat’s work is finding a home in art galleries. behind the canvas. Take them with you by tweeting while you travel with your music. Give your fans and potential fans a look backstage. go to http://creativecommons. For more information on how Creative Commons works. photographer. In creative industries. or other person who makes a living in the creative industries) find success on Twitter if you aren’t already on the level of Dave Matthews (@DaveJMatthews). movies. or behind the lens. and so realworld connections can really lead to new opportunities. Ryan Adams (@ryanada_ms). Also. and self-promotion as an artist. Creative Commons (http://creativecommons. and more. but Twitter can also help relatively unknown people make it to the top for the first time. Start a Blip. ✓ Share your content. art. or Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah)? Here are some simple tips that you can follow: ✓ Surround yourself with successful people. ✓ Tweet on the go. 205 .fm) channel. or other creative medium. Take the connections that you make on Twitter and organize events and get-togethers that bring the experience offline. ✓ Take it offline.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business MC Hammer is a pretty cool example of how you can use Twitter for rebranding. offer free mp3s on your Web site. Whatever you do. Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk). You can start to find them by finding out which of your real-world contacts in the industry are on Twitter or by doing a few Twitter searches to find like-minded people while you build your network. the talent is what counts. give people a way to take a look or have a listen so that they can get to know you and what you make.
your experiences. Reach out to people whom you can genuinely and unselfishly help. who focuses two-thirds of her business on helping those in the film and music industries and who often shares advice on Twitter for up and coming creatives. Let them.com/tag/actor). and transparency. and you.206 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter ✓ Engage your fan base.com/ musicians-guide-to-rocking-twitter). check out some of the top mostfollowed individuals in each category on user-generated Twitter directory We Follow or follow Leslie. candor. yes. actors (http://wefollow. Your company account can become a source of news. ✓ Attach a real-world face to the account. Don’t worry about impressing people — just do what you do and be yourself. Answer them. start a separate account for the company. com/tag/celebrity) are using Twitter. entertainment.com/tag/comedy). ideas. ✓ Be yourself. just as Laura did with @oneforty. Educate your Twitter followers. com/tag/music). Sharing Company Updates If you have a new or growing company that you want to introduce to the world through Twitter. TV personalities (http://wefollow. You may find balancing traditional corporate professionalism with the level of transparency that Twitter users have come to expect to be a little tricky sometimes. Try too hard to put your best face forward and you may lose yourself and stop being genuine. and other celebrities (http://wefollow. solutions. comedians (http://we follow. For the most up-to-date examples of how musicians (http://wefollow. so keep these guidelines in mind when you start your new account: ✓ Provide value to the Twitter community. as long as what you offer has genuine value. Twitter is a medium that rewards authenticity. Establish your company’s leadership in providing ideas.com/tag/tv). and the fans will follow. They probably want to ask you about the thoughts behind your work. Engage them in good conversation. solutions. You can even offer sales incentives for products. but don’t try too hard to project a persona that really isn’t authentically you. in the way that @DellOutlet does. see (http://pistachioconsulting. and watch as they spread the word about your work to their friends and followers. Put a good face forward. Twitter people notice if you aren’t being real. If you need to use a company logo as the avatar because of internal regulations or because multiple people are maintaining the account. For more in-depth reading on how musicians can use Twitter. and innovation. make sure to list the names of the actual people who are tweeting in the Bio section of your business’s . Don’t just post static links to content or schedule changes! Talk to your fans and respond to them through Twitter. or information that’s more than just a series of links to products and services.
and consider signing each tweet with the author’s initials. It helps to have a good plan in place and make sure that the employees assigned to the company Twitter account are trustworthy and have solid judgment. At its best. not brands. you do need to consider just how much you can say about what goes on inside your business. As with any public communications platform. Again. or talk about what’s going on in your office. sales. Profile an employee. Transparency is key. but you don’t want to disclose industry secrets in a public forum. Before tweeting in earnest for your company. don’t fuss too much about Twitter as a tool. Apple is an example of a company that benefits tremendously from its engaged community in terms of promotion. Think more strategically about the community and what they care about and engage them with substance and real contributions. This approach gives people a peek at what makes your company run. You might not talk about your cat or your marriage on a company account. 207 Building Community Community-building sometimes suffers from a kum-ba-ya perception that devalues the importance of using tools such as Twitter to connect with people. Every company has a different style. You can even hold tweetups at your office and invite your followers to stop by. innovative approach and to prevent any misguided fears that twittering means you will somehow suddenly start to leak sensitive company information or otherwise break reasonable corporate policies. done wrong. Whether self-promotional or not. talk about milestones for employees. So as you approach the Twitter opportunity. But building a truly engaged community is extremely valuable. self-help banter that’s ultimately empty. remember how powerful and engaged community can be and remember what people actually engage around — the things they really and truly care about. it’s a good idea to openly discuss your plans to demonstrate that you’re taking a productive. it can veer into feel-good. . ✓ Don’t spam. People like to talk to other people. Don’t flood the Twitter feed with self-promotional links or product information that don’t deliver genuine value to readers. you never want to clog up peoples’ Twitter streams with irrelevant information. and even customer support administered from one Apple fan directly to others. the community concept of sharing and connecting can help you spread a positive image and good comments about your company. This approach lets your followers become familiar with who’s behind the company voice and it makes them feel more engaged. not by worrying about any particular tools. like Boston’s NPR news station WBUR (@WBUR) does. but you can still make it personal.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business Twitter profile. Apple built its community by building great products people get passionate about.
and thanks to the innovative use of hashtags and Twitter. Already “I’m on a horse” from the Old Spice commercial is being used as a group joke. and hashtag it. they may have become the first duo to use a branded event to promote and encourage a shared community experience. NBC and the NFL encouraged participants around the country to discuss the game on their social networks. you can build a loyal corps of evangelists: people who are passionate about your brand. the Olympics. and planning more branded hashtags in future. By publicizing the #SB44 hashtag for the game. Layered onto the #SB44 hashtag experience was the #brandbowl hashtag. staff. missing a chance to build a community (and to prevent “spoilers”. This means that without spending a dime on an expensive Superbowl ad. and Lost opted not to simulcast or use official hashtags. government is a different story. Pepsi was the most notably absent — and one of the most talked about using the #brandbowl hashtag. real time. however. The U.S. With a community. your customers begin to feel emotionally invested in your success online. even though they have no professional or financial stake in the company. people get it. So far. The play by play online was vastly more interesting than the commentators onscreen.208 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Building a community is not necessarily the same as building a network: ✓ Network: Your network is there for you and your business.S. ✓ Community: Building a community means inspiring the people who follow you on Twitter to embrace your brand and create a feeling of solidarity around your business. this hashtag proved even more interesting than the #SB44 game itself — after all. . tweets a plot point or award during the show before the West Coast gets to see it). The #brandbowl hashtag also offered a peek into how people feel about the brands that chose not to pay for regular television spots this year but to use social media marketing instead. a kind of foundation for concrete professional growth. and it made the game just that much more fun to watch. or product. service. plot revelations that happen when someone on the East Coast. using the branded hashtag #HCR to drive awareness of and real time feedback on the recent health care reform bill. For some. #SB44 and #BRANDBOWL When NBC and the NFL decided to both broadcast Superbowl XLIV simultaneously across the U. other television events and shows like American Idol. This was created and promoted by the people behind the Superbowl ads and the people who were planning to follow along for the commercials and give their opinion on them. If you can engender the community feeling through your use of Twitter and how you interact with your customers. Not only did legions of Twitter users give advertisers ongoing. voluntary feedback on their ads. nationally. for example. their brand received all of the benefits of national awareness during the biggest sporting event of the year. the hashtag took a few of the better ads viral. and their Pepsi Refresh social media and social good campaign got a huge boost. many people watch the Superbowl each year just for the commercials. There was a buzz in the online air as people were able to root for (or against) each team.
Musicians. Zappos has spent so much time building a strong community that Twitter members who don’t even work for Zappos will routinely pass along information they see or hear and will even reach out on behalf of the company and connect potential customers with Zappos. such as Comcast’s cable offerings. and other celebrities are really personality-based businesses. members of their Twitter network still point them to @Comcastcares to find help. The Twitter users who follow the shoe retailer are so dedicated that they act like they’re legitimately invested in the brand’s success. Zappos fosters this effect by staying on top of what people on Twitter are saying about them. tweets from her Twitter community usually reflect the tone of her own calm tweets. through the use of monitoring tools. Plus. which increases the loyalty of her listeners. Community is also a huge aspect of many musicians’ and artists’ Twitter experiences. You can also see the community around less popular products.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business You can see this community feeling with Zappos. you can expect a Zappos employee to send you a direct message (DM) or @reply in less than a day that includes links to the proper pages on the Zappos site. If someone tweets something about Heap that her Twitter followers don’t like. Even while people express frustration about their cable service. and bringing forth those personalities on Twitter by asking questions and sharing parts of their lives cements a valuable engagement between the artist and fans. remaining mellow and not shrill. At the same time. actors. or about shoes in general. You can build community through ✓ Genuine interaction ✓ Asking questions ✓ Honesty ✓ Transparency ✓ Following people back who follow you ✓ Not over-automating ✓ Being more than a link list ✓ Providing value 209 . If you tweet about having trouble finding any kind of shoe. you can watch the community leap to her defense. Heap uses Twitter to interact more directly with her fan base. Then they jump in with help. who have come to see a more human side of her and feel like they’ve even come to know her.com. as needed. such as Imogen Heap (@ImogenHeap) and John Mayer (@johncmayer). for example.
you need a healthy following first. If you ask a really good question and send it into the world with a #hashtag to make the answers easier to find. Larger corporations are diving in to conduct their own research and build their own tools that can make sense of the tremendous amount of data being generated on Twitter all the time. it becomes a very useful tool for informal conversational research. The real challenge is finding reliable methods to extract and analyze the data: Twitter is still a very new medium. do active research (asking questions and conducting polls). What Twitter knows about the world is pretty incredible. and analytics tools associated with it aren’t yet that advanced. You can easily get the answers you seek after you establish a relationship with your followers that encourages participation. you can collect passive data (what people happen to be mentioning). conversation.) When you know that you have a diverse crowd of intelligent people following you on Twitter. As you build your network and start gaining more followers on Twitter. (continued) . and even engage actual focus groups and ad-hoc communities in live events. As you ask questions. you can even do research with a very small following. you can use any number of polling tools or even a simple manually generated tracking system (such as a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet) to collect the answers and data that you receive. in order to do most kinds of research on Twitter. and once businesses understand how to work with that information. If you’re willing to experiment with different ways to watch the Twitter stream.210 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Conducting Research Twitter is an excellent tool for crowd-sourcing and focus-group research. human-powered. then you can feel relatively comfortable starting to ask them for feedback and insight. Twitter can be thought of as a global. Growing your numbers naturally Although effective questions and good tagging can help your research spread beyond your direct network. it can contribute toward closing some pretty important gaps in our economy between supply and demand. mobile phone-enabled sensing and signaling network. and sharing. including those who are both fans and critics of your brand. This network will have much more value in the long run if you grow your numbers through natural conversational methods and organic back-and-forth follows. (Tip: Don’t advertise “please follow this account” the way that Ashton Kutcher did when he was trying to race CNN to a million Twitter followers. because the tag attracts curious bystanders who may later become new followers.
More than anything else. Stop worrying about what might happen to your brand. The truth is. Here’s how to achieve transparency: ✓ Release control. Twitter can. and not trying to force your message and spin on everyone all the time. your business. Lest you think we’re asking you to live out that unpleasant dream where you forget to wear your pants to school. being genuine and transparent on Twitter becomes second nature. it simply means being honest. But your business and you can begin to thrive on the real-time feedback about your products. and staff. you need to find your own personal comfort level between acting like a real person and over-sharing. The Amazon Fail incident happened when books pertaining to gay and lesbian themes were suddenly pulled from the online retailer’s bestseller lists. Although many Twitter users find themselves becoming more casual in their use of the service over time. Instead. When you acknowledge that your business and you occasionally have rough patches. listen to what your customers are trying to tell you and respond to that feedback. In the former example. Twitter users smelled something fishy and instantly started spreading the word. look at the hashtags #motrinmoms and #amazonfail. services. It’s no secret — people like to work with people they like. Transparency doesn’t require exposing company data to corporate spies or baring your soul for the Internet. relevant network to build up instead. and your employees. Transparency fosters trust and relationships. engaged. Both companies learned from going through this process that a better Twitter listening practice would have helped them address concerns early and prevent a conflagration. disclosing your biases.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business (continued) 211 Take it slow and wait for a solid. spread the word about your excellent customer service directly from the customers that were involved. Again. relax. They used Twitter to express their anger and ultimately get the campaign suspended. you can form stronger. among other things. ✓ Admit to problems. more genuine . and invite interested customers to come to reallife tweetups to find out more about your brand. After you find that line for yourself. admitting to mistakes. painkiller brand Motrin put out an online ad campaign that targeted mothers. Any forward-thinking business that has transparency on the mind or wants to remain on top of brand perception at all times has started to use Twitter. you haven’t been able to control your message for a while now: You might just not have known it. Going Transparent Transparency is a crucial marketing buzzword for some businesses and a scary reality for others. help you find out before it’s too late that a new flagship product is flawed. it failed spectacularly when real moms took offense at its content. For example.
Like with any new tool. Definitely set a few ground rules to help avoid common mistakes. . and even conversations with outside individuals cover any concerns that you have about your employees’ use of Twitter. business owners often feel some uncertainty and concern about how to manage employees so that they don’t waste time or make costly mistakes when using Twitter. voluntary promotion of you and your work. That kind of open disclosure has limits when it comes to some professions. people forgive most mistakes. have to restrict and curtail their Twitter use because of privacy issues. Make the guidelines basic. Twitter is extremely new to many people. and if you embrace it. and even organic. clear. provide staff with guidance on how to use it and what to be cautious about. so the exercise of common sense is in order. perhaps you shouldn’t say it on Twitter. Your existing guidelines about e-mail. you can be rewarded with unexpected benefits like loyalty. If you’re engaged with the community in a genuine way. Don’t stop seeking out the customers who are talking about you (you can find them by conducting regular Twitter searches. and that Twitter is a very open and searchable public forum. see Chapter 9) and reaching out to them. and easy to follow. But. . Obviously. What If My Employees . That personal touch goes very far in establishing and maintaining a positive perception of your business or brand. That said. as well as government agencies. ✓ Be proactive. or boss. blogs. But for most businesses. honesty is the best policy. ✓ Reach out continually. kids.212 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter connections with your community. and they may not yet be familiar with just how public and open it is.or two-page set of reminders or direct employees’ attention to the parts of your existing HR policy that cover public communications. Errors can — and will — go farther. people in the legal and medical professions. not just specific tools. advocacy. faster. it is important to take heed that information spreads fast on Twitter. Here are some thoughts to get you started: ✓ Remember that if you wouldn’t say it in front of your parents. Twitter’s community is pretty cooperative. You can simply write up a one. Remember to apply common sense and manage based on behavior and results. Before you start using Twitter for your business. . commenting on Web message boards and forums.
these basic rules should be enough to keep people from abusing their time on Twitter. Twitter can probably help you find that missing piece. as well as your company’s. tweet notes. Anyone can get quoted at any time. 213 Sharing Knowledge You can also use Twitter to share knowledge. and more — and your staff can connect more easily by using Twitter. but you need something to complete it. Say that you come up with a major presentation about what your company does or sells. you need to send out only a few tweets about your project. the better you can weather any economic buffering. especially if you spend time interacting on Twitter and building your network. If you haven’t been building your Twitter network. meet customers.Chapter 11: Twitter for Business ✓ If you do something confidential at a company. ✓ Manage your time on Twitter well so that it doesn’t interfere with your workload. ✓ Perception is reality. Unless your business has other issues that come into play (for example. The more of a team you can build. it can be misconstrued that way. collaboration. which led to a . as well. After you start to build a healthy network. such as a chart or a link to a relevant study. People on Twitter usually offer a helping hand when it comes to knowledge sharing. if you work for a law firm or government agency). Customize them however you want. Even if the complaint you tweet right after a client phone call wasn’t about the client. problem. keep private information under wraps. you may have to wait a while for this aspect of Twitter to become useful for you. and gather business information and research. collaborate both inside the company and out. Avid Twitter users are all aware of the same thing: By helping out others. Respect clients’ privacy. ✓ Respect the company brand when you’re out at tweetups (Twitter-based meet-ups) and events. Twitter can be an extremely valuable tool when it comes to building your professional team and bringing them together. Laura got to know two Wiley employees on Twitter and in person at conferences. and information gathering. You can set up meetings. The very existence of this book is an example of Twitter bringing people together for knowledge sharing and collaboration. or issue before people come out of the woodwork to try to help your business and you. they can get a hand when they need it.
We also reached out via our personal Twitter accounts and @dummies on Twitter to ask the broader Twitter community what they thought belonged in a book about Twitter. and they had all come to trust one another over time. via the community at Laura’s Twitter-powered community on www. . and.oneforty.214 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter conversation about Laura writing Twitter For Dummies. Laura in turn had met Michael and Leslie via Twitter-related conversations and events. of course. Moving forward.com. we’ll continue to listen and interact via the @dummies account. our Web site.
communicate with stakeholders. Many users instinctively turn to their Twitter network when they need to commiserate over a loss for their favorite sports team. but Twitter is a support system for your support system. Twitter keeps you connected in real time with the people in your life. We also go into detail about the social benefits of strong Twitter connections and provide tips for building and participating in a supportive Twitter community. providing support to your support system itself. Through these connections. when they lose a loved one. when they get a promotion or a new job. the service can likewise be used by individuals to build strong social connections. one can tap a wealth of resources that were heretofore unavailable due to limitations of time or distance. Using Twitter as a Support System Most people don’t realize this. As we show in this chapter. and establish personal relationships with customers (which we talk about in Chapter 11). or when anything else happens that they want to share with a supportive network of people. . your Twitter network can help in a myriad of ways that range from the prosaic (such as recommending a favorite pizza place in an unfamiliar town) to life-saving (coordinating disaster relief efforts in real time).Chapter 12 The Social Side of Twitter In This Chapter ▶ Using Twitter as a support system ▶ Connecting with people ▶ Making new friends ▶ Deciding who to follow ▶ Getting quick answers ▶ Sharing information J ust as businesses can benefit from using Twitter to build goodwill.
thereby increasing the breadth of your network to a sometimes embarrassingly large number of people. Twitter has also proved useful for couch-surfers. asking your friends on Twitter (both the ones you now have and the ones you’re making) for guidance or opinions can yield more detailed and varied advice and help than you might receive if you had turned to only your offline network. Twitterers reach out to one other through the trials and annoyances of everyday life (such as not having enough quarters at a laundromat) to crises of every size and measure. and more. Although Twitter is useful for supporting global causes and events. you may meet new friends and start to get a better feel for the people (both new and old) whom you can trust. Meet them in a public place. every day. . While connecting with your friends on Twitter. who have come to know interesting and accommodating people in different fields of expertise. Connecting with People Because all Twitterers use the same toolset and (as far as Twitter is concerned) play on the same level. like a cafe or restaurant. job-seekers. new friends can successfully meet and interact with each other offline. the more your follower/ following numbers go up. Because Twitter helps people get to know each other on a more personal level. so you’re not alone. abuse victims. Twitterers have been support networks when loved ones are in the hospital. Twitter isn’t meant to replace your offline network of lifelong friends and family — it’s a technology designed to enrich that network. the most poignant uses of Twitter can just as easily be found in the simple ways that users help each other. your expressions of frustration and loss are often met with an immediate response. Of course. one at a time. As always. or Google) and become their go-to place for help and support. it is remarkably easy to connect with people on the service. The more people you connect with. bring another friend with you. when relationships break up. all day. animals in need. When you use Twitter.216 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Twitterers have used the service to help displaced families. Twitter empowers humanity to act humanely. when couples divorce. and if you can. victims of natural disasters. Bing. Pay attention to your instincts — if something doesn’t feel safe. For many. Depending on the nature and the strength of your network. exercise caution when meeting people for the first time. Twitter has replaced search-based electronic resources (such as Yahoo!. and even researchers who need people to take part in focus groups. it probably isn’t.
In fact. some Twitter users try to improve their follower/following reputation by collecting as many followers as possible.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter 217 Gaming for followers Twitter networks are based on trust and reputation. and some of which Twitter has already suspended) automate this process. not collections of usernames and large follower numbers. Second. or even by clicking the block button on their Profile page. These individuals aggressively follow hundreds of people with the hope that the followed users follow them back (and many do). check out the sidebar “Gaming for followers. a couple of tools (which we won’t name. It takes time for people to notice you. It’s also pretty questionable how engaged those tens of thousands of “followers” actually are. Twitter’s spam team investigates the account and suspends any that are violating the terms of service. Some Twitter users (and we won’t name names) are addicted to increasing their follower count and will use many tricks to artificially increase their number of followers. But if you share posts that others find valuable (in other words. and you run the risk of losing your account entirely if other users block you or report you for abusing the system.” in this chapter. and the ratio of following to followers. The network generated is random and low-value. you don’t have to do anything but wait for your ratio to balance out. you’ll need to have posted a few updates or tweets first. For more information. You personally can help curb these gamers by not following back anyone you suspect is doing this. you . be patient and build a network of actual connections. and strongly against the overall Twitter community spirit. to avoid hitting the “follow ceiling. Does gaming followers give you a really high number on your follower count? Yes. in an effort to curb these users. When a Twitter account is blocked by a large number of users. Anxious to have lots and lots of followers? First. in turn. by a similar number of accounts. These people then unfollow the users who don’t follow them back within a couple of days. It is not a good way to quickly build a Twitter following.000 until the user is followed back. This is why the more ruthless gamers follow and then unfollow everyone that they target. unethical. and then you will automatically be permitted to follow more new people. has limited the number of people that users can follow to 2. Consequently. and one of the first metrics that people tend to use when deciding whether to follow someone is how many followers that user already has. it doesn’t matter as much as you might think. Twitter. The more aggressive “follow spammers” unfollow everyone in order to keep adding more and more and more. Do yourself a favor and do not be tempted to play any of these games. But this behavior is seen as obnoxious.” If for some reason you hit that ceiling.
What makes that plot twist interesting is how emblematic it is of how users feel the service as a whole. which typically occur when the servers become overloaded. They created a contest for designing a label for the Fail Whale Pale Ale. but having a following of attentive and interested listeners trumps having a large number of followers any day. and a Fail robot. and although it has grown exponentially. Most frequently. your follower count will grow organically. There are other “failure” graphics — kitty cats with screwdrivers (no longer used).218 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter write tweets that people find interesting or informative). Few companies are able to transform a potential disaster into a point of culture for its users. but Twitter pulled it off. you’ve just made your first Twitter-friend.com/photos/7909366@ N04/2879231531/). but none has engendered the love and following of our dear Fail Whale. Biz. a mythical brew (see http://www. The shared experience of losing access to the service fostered a sense of community so quickly among its users that they ended up adopting the Fail Whale as their mascot for banding together in tough times. These interpersonal networks are the most important aspect of this simple and (we admit) quirky service. or bond over something fun (such as music or sports). the “just chill” ice cream cone. Instead of becoming upset that their darling service was down. it might feel a little weird. The Fail Whale started life as a birthday card design called “Lifting the Dreamer. but it’s also a bit thrilling. Twitter has a variety of kitschy graphics that appear when the service has problems. an owl. especially if you have esoteric interests. Twitter is based around people and their networks. and Jack. towed by seven Twitter-logo-like birds (four of them are flying backwards). each time the service goes over capacity. the Twitter founders. Getting more followers may take a while. organic connection with a stranger on Twitter. Whether you do something as simple as get (or give) a much-needed answer to a question. the unscheduled maintenance caterpillar. Adopting the Fail Whale Twitter is still a young service. and more. flickr. That sense of family and community transcends obstacles and gets things done. connect for business. The adoption of the Fail Whale by the twitterverse was a sign that Ev. The first time you make a real. t-shirts. You can find Fail Whale plushies.” designed by Yiying Lu. it has had some growing pains. Twitterers reacted differently to the Fail Whale. Best known is the Fail Whale. mugs. They made t-shirts. Real connections power Twitter — those connections are the heartbeat of your Twitter community. . had indeed hit a home run. who comes out to play. its growing pains revolve around service outages.
One of the most common issues with Twitter during its early days was downtime — the server frequently became overloaded with too many users writing too many updates.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter In its early stages. pictured in Figure 12-1. what does all this connectedness have to do with you? If you listen to longtime Twitter users talk about it. 219 Figure 12-1: The Fail Whale appears when Twitter’s traffic exceeds its server capacity. Although users couldn’t access their Twitter accounts. Without that network of connectivity. leading to significant site downtime and unacceptable levels of quality of service. Don’t worry: New people are joining Twitter all the time. Twitter returned with a graphic of birds holding a whale out of the water. But the power of the connections and the format of the service kept it going. The picture and euphemism for Twitter down time was born: the Fail Whale. Twitter went through some serious technological growing pains while it got more popular. you may start to feel like there are a whole lot of shared memories and assumptions that you’re not a part of. but also to embrace the problems and create solutions. From the period of . So. no one who uses Twitter would have had the patience to not only stick around while the people behind the service worked out the kinks. the development team was nice enough to let you know what was going on: In place of whatever screen you expected to see.
you really ought to give as much (or more) than you get back. So.220 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter November 2008 until the final touches were put on just the first edition of this book. . Many Twitter users naturally follow people they know and trust. take a look through those people’s Profile pages and URLs to get a better feel for who they are. share a common interest (such as politics). But most people will say hello and expect you to respond to them and tell them a bit about you — just as they would in a real conversation. Twitter users tend to share something unique or tell about themselves in their Twitter Profile page. ideas. you might have trouble believing it. At first. . check out her timeline. read her bio. however. Twitter’s interface makes it pretty easy to figure out if someone is worth following — just look at the person’s Twitter Profile page. Twitter doubled its user-base at least three times over. coming from the same home town). or simply find each other fascinating. But on Twitter (and on most of the Internet). the camaraderie among Twitter users is based on trust. Well. That means pretty much everyone is new. Twitter’s past has established the underlying tone. a friend is someone with whom you share a connection. if you want! . over time. lexicon. and whether you’d want to strike up a conversation with them . if you receive a flurry of tweets welcoming you to the service. You will be rewarded with interesting new connections. and then do so. and if you want people to trust you on Twitter (just like if you want people to trust you in any other circumstance). and you shouldn’t feel shy about what came before. and existing Twitter users might not start a meaningful interaction with you right away. Making friends on Twitter is much like making friends in the real world: If two people have things in common (for example. and even lifelong (virtual and real life) friends. and follow her if she seems interesting. either inside their biographies or URLs — or both. Making New Friends In life. they may become friends. you really need to add value to the Twitter streams of others and act in a way that inspires trust. We’re just filling you in on it so that you have some idea how these past feel-good moments apply to you. To be effective. In fact. it is a real conversation. For one thing. Also. and conventions on Twitter. the word friend can have a number of different meanings. Most people start out feeling like the stranger at a cocktail party. many people start interacting with strangers. It’s therefore not unusual to hear about the friends and real-life connections that people make on Twitter.
what do you say to a total stranger? How do you say it? As a general rule. this party has cupcakes. their Web sites. Say that you’re a huge cupcake fan and want to connect with other pastry buffs.) If you’re the type of person who carefully chooses her conversations. so if you want to see what people are saying about something you’re interested in. and the things that they’ve tweeted so you can pick your conversations carefully. people love to know that you’re interested in what they have to say. You can do this simply by running a Twitter Search for cupcakes. but if you want to look for individuals who share your interests. “I’m about to make cupcakes as well! What’s your favorite recipe?” The two of you can go from there and may happen to start a relationship about your mutual love for baking cupcakes.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter If you express interest in other people and what they say or do. You can find people with whom you want to start conversations through the public timeline. You may find sending that first tweet to a potential Twitter connection a bit daunting.) Figure 12-2 shows a sample search for cupcakes. A recent search result. you can quickly and easily find those people by using Twitter Search (see Chapter 9) to see who’s already talking about your interests. (In a perfect world. they tend to reciprocate. If you tend to be the life of the party. Twitter gives you a lot of ammunition: Take a look at people’s bios. to find people they have something special in common with. (We cover Twitter Search in detail in Chapter 9. By way of starting a conversation. “about to bake cupcakes!<3<3” depicts a woman who seems excited at the prospect of making her cupcakes (those <3 characters are meant to be little sideways hearts showing how she loves cupcakes). have at it! Go ahead and start @replying to people and stir up a conversation. In general. Put differently. in real life and on Twitter. After all. think of Twitter as a giant cocktail party. The fancy name for this is social object theory — the idea that two people who discover a common interest are more likely to form some kind of direct connection to one another because of their connection to (and feelings for) the shared interest. you @reply to her. You decide what approach you want to take. as there’s no single right way to tweet. search for it. You’ll ultimately find that your own personal style for meeting people in real life translates pretty similarly to Twitter. so you want to see what people are saying. a whole lot of what goes on on Twitter is about “What do we have in common?” more than it is about “What are you doing?” . Laura frequently challenges new users to search for the most obscure keywords around their work or their favorite hobbies. 221 Searching for topics of interest Conversations crop up all the time on Twitter.
you can get a pretty good sense of who people are. many smaller communities have cropped up. That user seems like a great person to ask for a recipe if you want to make them. (Or. Twitter-based relationships often transition into relationships in real life. in all likelihood. for example: “@AliciaSue82 hey! Hey you! Maple cupcakes sound fantastic! Where’d you find that recipe?” On Twitter.222 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Or maybe you find the prospect of maple cupcakes intriguing. And because. as some techies abbreviate it. you might feel tempted to try to direct message them. The Twitter-based community occasionally organizes meet-ups in real life — the common thread being that they’re all part of a community from . you haven’t talked to them yet.) Figure 12-2: Searching for cupcakes. So. direct messaging works only if the person is following you. IRL. Start a conversation by replying to them directly. they’re probably not following you. too! While you’re going through the public timeline or the search results to find people who have information you want or people with whom you want to interact. Twitter-based events Through conversations on Twitter. you’ll find yourself getting to know people a lot better than you expected. However. Because Twitter profiles link to other resources and relevant information on their profile owners.
the digital-media folk on Twitter (the Twitterati) have organized and promoted a number of charity events through Twitter. via IAH.twestival. as of this writing. @twestival jumped to international consciousness — and headlines the world over — by drawing out 10.com). Twitter investor Chris Sacca (@sacca). In our experience.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter Twitter. clean drinking water wells in developing nations. but by meeting in public and by finding people you actually know in common. searching Twitter for new people to meet and might take you up on your offer. you may not see meeting offline as such a stretch. and. Anyone care for a game of Scrabble during my 2-hour layover?” A fellow traveler might be. In fact.charitywater. shown in Figure 12-3. in between flights during a layover. 223 .000 twitterers to 200+ events in cities around the world. out of curiosity or boredom. Say that you’re traveling from New Jersey to Colorado with a layover in Texas. You might send an update to Twitter: “Flying EWR to DIA.com). some people have had great success in meeting people in the most random of places — for example. Twitter is another avenue by which you can find people. having the ability to figure out who they are before agreeing to meet them certainly benefits you.org) to build safe. meeting people offline doesn’t feel as taboo as it used to. In addition to impromptu tweetups.sm4sc. if you happen to be in a new town on business. because Twitter connections are based on trust within a community (which you can measure by seeing who people talk to. Because Twitter is just another medium by which people connect. are @SM4SC (Social Media for Social Change. you can be a bit safer in making the jump to an offline connection. a massive series of tweetups on February 12. and because the medium allows you to easily build relationships. what they say. raised $250.000 for charity: water (www. 2009. In just a few short weeks. or visiting friends or relatives (and need to get away). you might be able to find people in that city to meet for coffee or drinks. So. you can also make such meetings safer by screening people before meeting up with them. two popular charity events. it should come as no surprise that these meet-ups are sometimes referred to as tweetups. because Twitter makes reaching out to new people so easy. Not only can you look for common interests to talk about before meeting people (which certainly jumpstarts the awkward early phases of any conversation). of course. In April 2009 the main @twestival organizer Amanda Rose (@amanda) traveled to Ethiopia with charity: water founder Scott Harrison (@scottharrison). and what they’re like). and @twestival (www. As with nearly every term relating to Twitter. When all was said and done. www. Your mom was partially right about not talking to strangers. and others to film and dedicate the first @twestival well drilled.
r there any twitterers in 5 n diner wit me. Sean and Jesse decided to stop by and settle the identity question once and for all.blogspot. Shaq tweeted again: “I feel twitterers around me. com/2009/02/finally-use-fortwitter. if u c me n public come say hi. the more solid connections you have with your Twitter following. Shaq’s truck was in the parking lot. anyone could be masquerading as the muchloved star of 1996’s smash-hit genie coming-ofage comedy. Kazaam. when @THE_REAL_SHAQ updated his status to tell his followers that he was having a meal at the nearby 5 & Diner. While the two friends worked up the courage to say hello. they were being invited to share Shaq’s booth.html.” earlier in this chapter). You can also merge your offline circle of friends with your online circle of friends in ways you never could before. Although you may find meeting people in airports for board games an advantage to having some Twitter credibility.and offline. After all. We talk more about being genuine in Chapter 10. and take pictures. increasing your social reach exponentially. As it turns out. Jesse Bearden didn’t believe that his friend Sean was getting regular updates from the real Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter. the more your network works for you. So. trade notes on Shaq’s Android Googlephone versus Jesse’s Window’s Mobile device. say somethin” Within moments.224 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter The real Shaq story At first. you can get your followers to answer questions you can’t find answers to anywhere else! . In Shaq’s words: “To all twitterers. we r not the same we r from twitteronia. and the man himself was tucked in a corner booth. If you have a valuable network. we connect” Celebrities and brands who use Twitter to build audiences become approachable on their own terms — even in real life! You can find more information about the story at http://sesquipedalis. you can use your online network as quite a resource beyond the fuzzy stuff (which we discuss in the section “Using Twitter as a Support System. Sure enough. By being active on Twitter — practicing the philosophy of transparency and having genuine interactions — you can increase your circle of friends and connections both on.
Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter 225 Figure 12-3: On the Social Media for Social Change Web site. There is no single “right” way to go about deciding who to follow.000 followers. not just because he’s following you. Our rule is simple: Follow someone if you have a reason to follow him.000 until they have roughly that number of followers themselves. (If you’re on Twitter for business purposes. Some people diligently review who they follow and trim out users who are no longer relevant to their lives. Once a limited account reaches close to or over 2. . Some people tend to follow everyone they interact with. the Twitter team has limited the number of twitterers that users can follow to 2. Twitter once again allows it to go out and follow more accounts.) To prevent spam. To Follow or Not to Follow? Everyone has their own methodology for whom they follow and how they follow people on Twitter. and others never look through their Following list. other twitterers may use the Following tool differently than you — just because they don’t immediately follow you back doesn’t mean they’re not going to in the future. you can see what events are coming up. but others judiciously control their following counts. we have different advice for you in Chapter 11.
Getting Quick Answers Have you ever had a seemingly simple question that has bothered you for days and days? Well. sending her a DM can be insulting. be forewarned that many users hate these automatic DMs. So. which usually happen only after you spend time to get to know someone. use these technologies with caution. Search for the endautodm hashtag on Twitter Search to get a sense of how unpopular auto-direct messages can be. someone can likely answer your question. so go ahead and ask! You might be surprised by the answers you get. Direct messages are meant for private conversations. some direct-message their new followers to say hello. both in person and on Twitter. People tend to know a variety of things. . Some people and businesses choose to make first contact with their new followers by sending a direct message. so play things by ear and develop your own personal style of what you are comfortable with. Some users enjoy receiving such direct-message greetings. or have unknown talents and knowledge bases. and it’s not always possible to tell which approach your new follower prefers. That sort of outreach can be antisocial and irritating. and others do nothing at all. There’s no hard and fast rule. make first contact openly to keep with the transparent and welcoming nature of Twitter. Some Twitterers go so far as to use third-party services to automatically send a thank-you direct message to people who follow them. why not ask Twitter? If you have a solid network of Twitter friends. You can write a very personalized direct message to say hello.226 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Every user has a different ritual when she gets a new follower: Some people @reply their new followers to acknowledge the follow. if the person doesn’t like receiving direct messages from new people that she follows.) If you’re on the fence about what to do to acknowledge someone who follows you. but others might view a direct message as intrusive or antisocial. and you naturally gravitate towards a routine that works for you. thank the recipient for the follow. and mention why he might want to keep in touch. and. (We cover hashtags and Twitter Search in Chapter 9. Twitter doesn’t have an official protocol about what you’re supposed to do. As a side note. If you decide to use that kind of technology. some Twitter users have rallied around the hashtag #endautodm in solidarity against auto-direct messages.
perhaps asking the fifth Beatle’s name is poor form. you can read more about it here: http://en. go to bed already!) Some people consider tweeting a question whose answer you can easily search on your favorite Internet search resource impolite. someone who knows the answer is probably awake on the East Coast or not yet asleep in Europe. and communicate with customers.m. JetBlue. (In Chapter 11. For example.Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter In fact. we explain how businesses can use Twitter to their advantage to help. if you’re awake at 5 a. educate. some brands and companies are beginning to use Twitter as a customer-service tool.wikipedia. For example. according to some. Hop on Twitter and ask! (The Fifth Beatle’s name is Stuart Sutcliffe. someone probably knows what you’re looking for or is having a similar conversation somewhere. uses Twitter to send customers information on flight delays. . You might ask your followers if they have any movie recommendations.org/wiki/Fifth_Beatle. In addition. So. Some users consider it rude and inconsiderate to waste their time with silly questions. and are willing and ready to answer customer queries. though. shown in Figure 12-4. whether locally or on the other side of the world.) 227 Figure 12-4: JetBlue notifies customers of weather delays and where to go for flight-delay information through Twitter. Try hunting down the answer first by yourself before asking your Twitter network. and they may unfollow you. in California trying (vainly) to remember the name of the fifth Beatle so that you can stop obsessing and go back to sleep already. So.
if you want to get a better sense of what it’s like to be an Australian actor working in America. knowledge. but you can get valuable. but you can definitely get pointers in the right direction much faster than you can on your own. Twitter is a trust-based network. celebrities. knowledgeable answers to more serious questions. stats hounds. Your growing network of contacts on Twitter also earns your trust. and reports on a wide array of topics. ask Twitter. Always check your facts. ask Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman). more professionals. you can probably trust that the link will take you to a page that’s helpful to you. remember that everyone else reading your updates gets all those messages. and fact checkers on Twitter who aren’t famous but are eager to help you. After all. respect their time by asking something relevant and interesting to them. many of the relationships you have on Twitter are with people whom you trust and who trust you. If you’re doing some research for work and want to find the most useful sources. interacting with the community. and outreach. While Twitter grows in popularity. knowledge. number crunchers. So. you earn trust. and information. In the process of building connections. As you can probably imagine. Despite their celebrity. if someone in your trusted network sends you a link. but if you’re sending them public messages in your timeline. So. For example. Feel free to try to talk to them in the future. they have the exact same tools that you do and are as accessible as they want to be on Twitter. your question may have just gotten lost in the noise. You’ll also find many industry analysts. you still have to do additional normal research and fact-checking.228 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Accessing the experts By using Twitter. and point people at companies are actively using the service to further their own publicity. many followers — and those popular folks are often inundated with questions and @replies. Want to know what Yoko Ono thought about when she was writing one of her pieces? Go ahead and ask her! (@yokoono). don’t be a rabid fan. If you ask something of them and don’t get a response. you just might get an answer. But again. reliable. Of course. not just to simple ones. If they have the time and see your question. and accessible information through Twitter. too. with your Twitter account comes an army of experts and pundits who have research-heavy charts. you can find quick. That trust-building goes both ways. many celebrities and industry mavens have many. not just something selfish or easily looked up elsewhere. . and sharing your ideas and knowledge. In short. People on Twitter can be very generous with their time. graphs.
his network is also getting real-time pictures. cheese selection. and topping distribution. Or perhaps you’re looking for the best Chicago-style pizza in New York City. perpetually spreading false rumors reduces your reliability as a source to your followers. you might have a bit of fun reading their tweets while they argue the finer points of crust thickness. so take each piece of information with a grain of salt. If anything newsworthy happens on the local level. TwitPic. In fact. Say that you’re an employer looking for a reliable office manager. Depending on how much you trust the person who’s providing the updates. geo-location. Although Twitter has proven itself to be a great tool for getting live updates and eyewitness reports. as well. If the twitterer uses any of the services that can post to Twitter accounts (such as Utterli. Ask your Twitter network for suggestions on where to go. Getting recommendations Twitter’s a great resource for getting recommendations from your friends and contacts. in the heat of an event or moment. and sometimes video information. you’ll likely have a few pizzerias and restaurants to try out (and more information about your contacts’ food preferences than you bargained for). someone on the scene probably has Twitter and is telling his network about it as it happens. In the end. Follow @breakingnews for the latest in breaking news. traditional journalism and fact-checking still has a place. or Brightkite). Sharing Information One of the things that new users notice quickly on Twitter is the abundance of shared information. A great way to start is by asking your Twitter network for help in staffing that position. Sometimes. You’ll find that people share everything — from recipes to complex PowerPoint presentation files or slide decks — seemingly without a second thought. If you have contacts in both Chicago and New York. By the same token. a favorite amongst many Twitter users. your next office manager may come from your Twitter following. audio. rumors can spread as easily as facts across Twitter. .Chapter 12: The Social Side of Twitter 229 Information about breaking news The real-time nature of tweets makes Twitter an ideal resource for breaking news. you know how much legwork you have to do (if any) to validate her claim.
either block or simply ignore him. protect your updates and allow only people you trust to receive your tweets. Another way many Twitter users share information is by linking to other Web sites. To quote an old adage. people question the motives of those sharing or worry that the people who see and use the information might somehow steal it. artificially build reputation. nefarious characters do crop up on Twitter. You can control who you interact with on Twitter and what kind of network you find value in cultivating. Giving up control might sound a little scary. Addressing that concern requires a fundamental psychological shift in thinking: Part of the success of Twitter is the concept of giving up some control over the information you release to your network.230 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Sometimes. They might try to socially engineer networks. blogs. “Sharing means caring. or poach information for notso-up-and-up purposes. what you’re doing. We cover linking in Chapter 9. . or what you’re thinking about. If you’re concerned about your information becoming public. but it doesn’t have to be. Like with any online service (or any gathering of human beings for that matter). The nice thing about Twitter is that it’s pretty selfpolicing: If you’re concerned about a user. It also shows that you care enough about the people in your network to share what you know. and linking etiquette. and Internet resources. including how to go about linking to other sites. Whom you share with can be just as important as what you’re sharing. ways you can reduce your character count so that you can maximize the information and commentary you can include. You’ve built (or are building) a network of Twitter users whom you can trust.” Sharing with your network increases the value that you have to that network and allows your network to grow.
Twitter has become accepted by many as an extremely effective tool for social change on both a local and global level. . Twitter becomes a touch-point by which users try to improve their worlds. One Tweet at a Time In This Chapter ▶ Twittering the globe for change ▶ Organizing people online and in real life ▶ Engaging in citizen journalism witter is a great communications tool for businesses and persons alike. interests. and it has the potential to connect people and create relationships over a variety of discussions. and geographies. we share true stories of global and social-change initiatives that either started or were facilitated by the use of Twitter. as well as world and local events aided by Twitter. So. We close the chapter with a few examples that illustrate Twitter’s ability to spread messages of goodwill and world improvement through its user base.Chapter 13 Changing the World. interesting things start to happen. In this chapter. T Twittering the Globe for Change Twitter offers a platform for immediate news delivery and instant communication with millions of twitterers around the world. When people use Twitter to grow their communities and share observations and insights on issues and situations that matter to them. despite the seemingly confining 140-character limit.
and even new twitterers are likely to encounter someone who can share one of these only-on-Twitter stories. In April 2009.twestival.232 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Quite a few individuals and organizations have begun to use Twitter for outreach. publicizing activities and events. a worldwide event with more than 200 participating cities. where access to clean water is scarce.twestival. tens of thousands of users have made strong personal connections on Twitter: new friendships and relationships. Heck. But the idea caught on when some of those followers decided to make it a worldwide effort. . and most Twestivals were put together in only a few weeks. See @twestival and www. which uses donations to build wells in developing countries. 2009. mobilizing grassroots efforts. sharing news. Generating the interest took a matter of days.com or @twestival). Amanda traveled to Ethiopia to witness and share the drilling of the first Twestival well and to raise awareness of charity: water’s work and provide a behind-the-scenes look at clean drinking water issues. But. on the simplest and most mundane level. Twestival continues on. to benefit a nonprofit called charity: water (www. thanks to Twitter’s ability to rapidly disseminate ideas and information.000 around the world for charity: water. One can call attention to issues or events by consistently tweeting relevant information in digestible snippets. you may become a Twitter story yourself — you just have to reach out. Users who know how to tap Twitter’s potential for swiftly spreading their ideas are able to get rapid and powerful results. a series of events that raised awareness and funding for a nonprofit organization called charity: water (www.charitywater. Charity events Twitterer Amanda Rose (@amanda) is widely acknowledged as the driving force behind Twestival (www. as well as new and fruitful professional connections. and a number of other ways for effecting positive change. volunteers raised more than $275. Twestival The first Twestival. This night of music and friends got its start in the U. from a single Twitter user who had fewer than 2.K. Ultimately.com for more information. shown in Figure 13-1.000 followers.org and @charitywater). was held on February 12.org). These connections spring up on Twitter all the time. as well as occasionally sending links to valuable and verifiable information. raising funds.charitywater. You also increase your reputation as an authority on a given topic if you write credible posts and articles and share these with your followers.
Internet luminaries such as Mashable. Howard Lindzon’s blog (@howardlindzon). One Tweet at a Time charity: water (founded by Scott Harrison. Beth’s ongoing work usually benefits Cambodian orphans via The Sharing Foundation.000 and placed charity: water and the concept of microgiving (donations were $2 each and made directly through Twitter) onto TechCrunch. Laura’s own Christmas-and-birthday wish effort @wellwishes raised $25. and dozens of other old and new media outlets. largely because of a note Twitter founder Biz Stone (@biz) included in an August 2008 e-mailed newsletter. Just as Twestival planning was kicking off. Other twitterers donated money and gathered at a fundraising social event in Boston to help victims of domestic violence through Gradon Tripp’s (@gradontripp) Social Media for Social Change (@SM4SC). Social Media for Nonprofits guru Beth Kanter (@kanter) conducted the first Twitter-based charity fund drive we know of when she decided to send a young Cambodian woman to college with a little help from her friends. @scottharrison) is one of the best-known charities with a presence on Twitter. charity: water is not the only nonprofit to have benefited from Twitter’s broad reach and influence.Chapter 13: Changing the World. . Mashable.com founder Pete Cashmore and Facebook developer Dave Morin have hosted Twitter campaigns for donations. 233 Figure 13-1: Twestival supports the nonprofit organization charity: water. shown in Figure 13-2. The Huffington Post.
bonding over some candidates.S.TV on a video-text integration of tweets into their election-related broadcasts.000 for the Jane Doe foundation. Twitter users live-tweeted debates and stump speeches. choosing the platform as an important way to interact with prospective voters. foreign policy. In the weeks leading up to the election. the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. making fun of political gaffes and snafus. During the election. Bush. During the 2008 United States elections. Barack Obama’s team was in on the ground floor when it came to the use of Twitter as a publicity and organization tool. the shortcomings of U. Twitter users began to follow and monitor politics in real time. news junkies used Twitter to follow not just the issues. and overall creating a real-time political metric that instantly became a media favorite. Politics You can gauge the impact of an issue around the world by checking Twitter. and even less-active twitterers turned to the service to keep tabs on what was going on in the world of politics as it happened. . Twitter even launched a page specifically for campaign-related tweets and worked closely with Al Gore’s (@algore) company Current. and the rise of Barack Obama (@barackobama). Staffers caught on to the fact that politicians can use Twitter to measure the buzz about them in real time. but also the sentiments of people from around the world: disillusionment with the administration of George W.234 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Figure 13-2: @SM4SC raises $20.
Chapter 13: Changing the World, One Tweet at a Time
The night of the U.S. presidential election, Twitter was nearly brought to its knees by millions and millions of shared concerns, excitement, questions, voting reports, and a massive buzz of connection around the events that were unfolding. Twitter’s technological system took on massive traffic from all over the globe and managed not to crash, although there were time delays, especially in the SMS-to-Twitter message flow. It was amazing to share it all virtually with friends and loved ones from around the globe in real time on our phones and computers. The reactions were varied, but no matter which side of the fence you were on, you were a part of the first, truly real-time, global reaction to a national election. Barack Obama’s election victory was historic for twitterers, in more ways than one. Twitter also helped people around the world aggregate their reactions from other social-media services. TwitPics, YouTube videos, Qik channels, Utterli and TalkShoe voice posts, and plenty of other services all fed into Twitter in a massive data stream that pretty much anyone around the world could access.
One of the most interesting evolutions in Twitter during 2009 was its real time use in times of unrest. As a mobile tool for immediate, portable, on the ground communication it has quickly become indispensable. One of the largest examples of this was its use during the Iranian elections. As the elections moved forward and questionable practices were employed, Twitter users around the world began to see a trickle of tweets coming from inside Iran. These tweets, which grew exponentially in number, were being used by the Iran citizens to keep the lines of communication open with the outside world as Iran officials tried to silence their protests. By tweeting the addresses of proxy servers, the locations of fallen or captive citizens, the areas of unrest and protest and violence, Iranians were able to bring to light the practices of an election that, from all appearances, was far from fair. People outside of Iran were able to help through the power of retweeting, to use tweets to see if friends and family were still okay inside the country, to connect help to those who needed it, and to use Twitter’s Locations feature to confuse the computer servers that were trying to track the Iranian people who were keeping the information flowing out of the country. Twitter was so important to the Iranian protestors that the U.S. State Department requested that Twitter, Inc. hold off on a maintenance update that would have had a few hours of blackout during the Iran daytime. In the end, the use of Twitter not only had the immediate benefit of keeping many safe, it also shone a light on an election that went against the citizen vote. The jury is still out on whether this created immediate change for Iran following the election, but it set a precedent of transparency and connection later employed in our own U.S. politics throughout the year, notably in the 2010 health care debate, leading up to and after the passing vote.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Twitter has also caught on as an extremely important medium for naturaldisaster reporting, such as hurricanes Gustav and Ike, wildfires and earthquakes in California, and the massive and tragic 2008 earthquake in China, as well as countless smaller hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, and tornados. These days, with so many people using the service, news of major weather events often break on Twitter long before the mainstream media reports it. You can use Twitter as a sort of tracking service for weather events and other surprises across the globe. Follow weather in real time while it moves from place to place, just by watching the tweets of people you follow. Government agencies (see Figure 13-3) can find tremendous value by tapping into Twitter as a real-time system for sensing and signaling events around the globe. Because of Twitter’s open application program interface (API), programs that use Twitter’s search and trends data to help people survive and thrive in future disasters are only a matter of time.
Figure 13-3: FEMA embraces Twitter.
Chapter 13: Changing the World, One Tweet at a Time
Twitter has value to individuals beyond news reporting and storm tracking, too. Twitter users can also connect with far-off family, friends, and colleagues to check on their status after a major weather incident in their area. You can use Twitter as an immediate channel to get information about what’s happening and, more importantly, do something about it.
Using Twitter for social change goes beyond fundraising, though. People also use Twitter for some very unique problem-solving: Among the more unusual projects is one fronted by user @maratriangle, who has been on Twitter since its early days and uses the service to track and catch poachers in Africa (see Figure 13-4). With a standout avatar in a green beret, he has developed a network of Twitter users all over the globe who make sure no reports of poaching go unnoticed.
makes sure that poachers don’t go unnoticed.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Twitter can effect real global change by facilitating data-sharing for professionals across borders. One teaching hospital tweeted during a live surgery to educate students who couldn’t actually be at the surgery. Other people have suggested using Twitter to share medical and prescription data anonymously from doctors to pharmaceutical companies so that pharmaceutical firms can see in real time which prescriptions are being prescribed where. The ability to collect this type of data also has implications for disease tracking and outbreak control, though anyone trying this must tackle the obvious privacy issues before such a use could be considered. Twitter certainly has lofty potential for global connections on a large scale. So, how can you use it yourself? Be patient. After you build a following on Twitter and become a respected member of a strong network, you can help rally others to a cause, or even get a hand when you need some help. Your Twitter network can help you relocate across town or across the globe, find a new job, reconnect with lost family members, and even research your history and genealogy. In one dramatic example, the use of Twitter helped someone escape potentially dire circumstances. When James Karl Buck was arrested in Egypt, he immediately tweeted a single word: “Arrested”. Instantly, his followers and colleagues were alerted to his situation and mobilized the help needed to secure his release. Read the story at www.cnn.com/2008/tech/04/25/twitter.buck.
Organizing People Online and in Real Life
Twitter makes organizing group activities both online and in real life easy. People have used Twitter to solicit volunteers for events, rally a group around a cause, push get-out-the-vote efforts, find speakers for conferences, scout locations for get-togethers, or just have impromptu tweetups (a term twitterers use to refer to spontaneous real-life meet-and-greets). Twitter helps people take online interactions into the real world. As Twitter becomes more popular and enters the mainstream, however, Twitter users may want to exercise some basic common sense when meeting people offline for the first time. Make sure to meet in groups and in public places, and tell someone where you’re going and with whom. While the vast majority of the people we’ve met on Twitter are trustworthy, we advise you not to make rash decisions about your safety.
Chapter 13: Changing the World, One Tweet at a Time
You can use Twitter in such a wide variety of ways because of — you guessed it — how open-ended it is. Because Twitter doesn’t have any forced rules of use, beyond common courtesy and a few guidelines about balance in followers (see http://twitter.com/faq), Twitter users can craft their own strategies for how to use it. You can read more about Twitter etiquette in Chapter 7 and security and safety in Chapter 10. Perhaps the best example of Twitter’s organizational power is Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. The Obama campaign used Twitter in conjunction with other social-media tools to rally grassroots support. Representatives from Obama’s team used the Twitter account @barackobama to post updates on the candidate’s whereabouts, announce rallies and donation drives, and answer questions from ordinary twitterers. By using Twitter, the campaign helped to foster an idea of transparency and togetherness. Even more interesting than Obama’s use of Twitter was how his supporters used it. When Obama supporters on Twitter began to use their avatars and background images to display their support for him, the idea caught on and spread rapidly across Twitter. Twitter avatars changed to Obama-themed icons in solidarity to the cause; twitterers updated bios and tag lines; and people pointed their personal profile Web links to Obama’s campaign site. For a service as simple and stripped-down as Twitter, Obama supporters certainly found creative ways to use it to show their affinity. Now that Obama has been in office for some time, you can see an alternative organizational effort underway among conservatives on Twitter. Feeling underrepresented on Twitter, pugilistic, and calling themselves the Top Conservatives on Twitter, these individuals use the #tcot hashtag to represent themselves, and to stir support for their after-election goals and events (see Figure 13-5). Organizing on Twitter does come with some risks. Because of the crowd mentality, Twitter opinion can turn on a dime. Everything discussed on Twitter is so real-time and in the moment that something can be trendy one moment and passé the next. Take the time to set up some foundation work first — a Web site that has accurate information, a universal hashtag, and keyword tracking. Your potential attendees and volunteers will know that you mean business if you use such tools. As we go to press, infighting amongst the #tcot community has disabled some of the Web sites built to support and display their efforts, but you really can’t own or stop a hashtag. It belongs to those who use it most.
Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter
Figure 13-5: A #tcot search, showing politically conservative tweets.
Organizing on a small scale
You can use Twitter to rally people around a cause at any level. We mention some bigger examples in the preceding section, such as Beth Kanter (see Figure 13-6), who once raised $9,000 for The Sharing Foundation orphans in 90 minutes onstage and via Twitter during the Gnomedex technology conference, and Twestival nonprofit raising $275,000 for charity: water. But what can you do in your own communities? Even if your big idea is a local one, you can take advantage of Twitter to make it happen. Twitter empowers the user to locate and organize like-minded people online around a common goal or idea. If you need volunteers to fundraise for your child’s class trip or school supplies, you can probably find them through your Twitter network. If you want to start a book club, try using Twitter to find members.
socializes online and plans dinner parties. This community is both international and local.Chapter 13: Changing the World. Banding together for creative purposes If you want to drum up user-generated content for your company or clients. including those on the lighter side of life. Marketer HubSpot often gathers people in the Boston area — both company employees and . Food and spirits enthusiasts have been taking advantage of Twitter lately: A thriving foodie community. some of which were started by corporate marketers. and other offline excursions to celebrate their passion for food. for example. or use that content on a Web site or blog. One Tweet at a Time 241 Figure 13-6: Beth’s Blog is a resource for how nonprofits can use social media. at the same time. solve cooking problems. You can use Twitter as a tool to organize whatever kind of group you want. including Twitter. and spread the word about new restaurants together (see Figure 13-7). They trade recipes and ingredients. then you can often find enthusiastic participants by reaching out via Twitter. Organizing on Twitter does help serious causes. Tyson Foods uses Twitter and its blog to generate blog comments that trigger in-kind donations to food pantries. Twitter users have banded together on creative projects of all sizes. restaurant weeks. but it doesn’t have to be all work and no play.
com). Figure 13-7: Planning to eat food. shown in Figure 13-8? Twitter can help you do that. Twitter is also a fantastic tool for collaborating on projects. letting interested participants help the project in real time. and cast whole online Webisodics (television-style video series based online only) via the service.242 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter outsiders — to “star” in musical videos about inbound marketing (a marketing strategy that encourages companies to get found by customers. When they need to change a plot or scout a location. lyricists.rpmchallenge. Do you need to organize an audio or music challenge. and more. by allowing people to participate or express interest in your idea. contrasted with outbound marketing or pushing marketing onto customers) on YouTube. just by shooting out a few strings of 140 characters into the Twitter universe. Twitter can come to the rescue. such as the RPM Challenge (www. written. Mmm! . You can find co-authors. people who play various instruments. Twitter users have planned. and they do it by rallying the troops on Twitter. Creative content from Twitter is definitely not limited to commercial purposes.
com) to make sure that no one else is using that hashtag. a Web site. locate equipment.org) or Twitter Search (http://search. Twitter itself isn’t feature-heavy enough to provide all of the information to your potential event-goers and volunteers. recording offers of help. A unique hashtag will eliminate confusion. Create a landing page. or Upcoming. 2. Here’s how you can make the most of Twitter for your event: 1. scout locations. Make the landing page an off-site location for signing up.hashtags.org (www. You can use Twitter to find speakers. Planning an event If you plan events — whether they’re small. One Tweet at a Time 243 Figure 13-8: The RPM Challenge Web site. Choose a hashtag (keyword) for your event. Amiando. and generating interest. Take a minute to check Hashtags. Your landing page can be a blog. impromptu meet-ups or large weekend workshops or seminars — Twitter can help. or an event page on a site such as EventBrite.twitter. Even though you’re doing most of your organizing on Twitter. and drive attendance. score discounts.Chapter 13: Changing the World. TwtVite is a relatively new event-planning site purposely built for Twitter that incorporates the Twitter avatars and profiles of those who sign up. .
set up basic alert tracking for your event. on TwtVite. If you’re planning something larger than a simple two-hour tweetup. Massachusetts. who signs up for the event. Now that you have laid the foundation for tracking interest and attendance to your event.244 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter 3. your hashtag is a great place to start. and other related keywords. When you need to decide what to track as your keyword. 4. and venues that have offered help (see Figure 13-9). When your event landing page is ready. . You can also track the venue. Figure 13-9: A tweetup in Lowell. the theme. You can generate interest and allow the tweet to get legs and be retweeted (RTed). Several free services such as Google Alerts or BLVDStatus conversions (see Chapter 9) will meet your basic requirements. start spreading the word! Don’t let talk of the event completely dominate your Twitter stream — you can lose followers that way — but make sure to highlight your event adequately. You can also use a paid media monitoring service such as those offered by Radian6 (see Chapter 9) to track your event. make sure to keep up with who has volunteered assistance.
and other logistical issues. If you do plan to go big by organizing a large event on Twitter. Coupled with your tracking methods. One Tweet at a Time 245 Taste Live Wine and spirits enthusiasts have caught on to using Twitter as a community platform.com) to track what people have offered to do. though: They tapped the power of their Twitter network to take it offline.S.webnotes. The store didn’t just stop with Twitter Taste Live online events. you can! Planning a conference takes a little more finesse than a short tweetup or business function. you may find planning a big event the 140-character way relatively painless. as well as onto other social-media channels. . keep thorough records to help you manage all the tweets related to it. and abroad. who’s coming. You can even use a free tool such as WebNotes (www.net) or EverNote (http:// evernote. If you turn to Twitter on most Saturday nights. but it’s very doable. especially the international community of wine lovers that organizes virtual tastings and realworld events. and it has taken off as a concept all over the U. This online event was started by Massachusetts wine shop Bin Ends Wines.Chapter 13: Changing the World. you can catch a glimpse of the Twitter Taste Live phenomenon (hashtag #ttl). Can you plan a full-blown conference by using Twitter as your main tool? Yes. such as Ustream.
too. Celebrities are adopting it as a way to beat the paparazzi at their own game and give their fans a more direct voice to listen to (see Figure 13-10). Thanks to service technologies like mobile phones and portable video cameras. such as Pure Digital’s popular Flip video camera and better phones with Twitter-friendly services (such as Qik). . and other technology. thanks to Twitter. or stories to CNN’s Web site. @cnnbrk) and popular shows such as The Ellen Degeneres Show. The View. Twitter is even making it into nontechnical print publications such as The New York Times. News outlets such as CNN (@cnn. Musicians are tweeting to bypass regular radio and sell more music. Now. man-on-the-street reporting has become a reality — and an important part of 21st-century journalism. Citizen journalism hits the mainstream Mainstream media outlets have been turned on to the social-media craze. as well as interact with more fans. and The Oprah Winfrey Show have all begun to incorporate Twitter and the global. real-time conversations it fosters into their on-screen time.246 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Engaging in Citizen Journalism You may have first been turned onto Twitter by hearing about it in the mainstream media. Twitter is cropping up in print media. but they were the first to embrace it so openly via Twitter. the CNN iReporter interface. real people can report on real events as they’re unfolding. videos. Twitter is a big part of this phenomenon. Even before its exposure on mainstream media. Twitter had already become a natural outlet for the phenomenon known as citizen journalism. We don’t know whether CNN was the first national news outlet to embrace citizen journalism. which allows anyone to upload photos. and CNN has been at the forefront with its iReport initiative (see Figure 13-11). CNN then features some of those iReports on TV.
sharp-eyed users are quick to catch onto it and are just as quick in telling their friends and colleagues what’s going on. anyone can be the journalist. and it allows you to report events right away with no fact-checking at all. or audio recorders. How does Twitter fit in? Twitter is the darling of the instant-gratification crowd.Chapter 13: Changing the World. by using TwitPic. seems to be very good at self-policing. like user-created encyclopedia Wikipedia. and Twitter brings that roving band of citizen reporters into sharp focus. Being a Twitter journalist Twitter. That man on the street can be any person who has access to computers. . One Tweet at a Time 247 Figure 13-10: Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) and his wife Demi Moore (@mrs kutcher) dive into Twitter. Twitter users offer a kind of natural checksand-balances system for the twitterverse. so do take everything you read with a grain of salt. cameras. video cameras. Now. do a little factchecking before you take it as the gospel truth. respected media outlets. If it’s a story that’s not being reported on by the major. phones. When a fraud starts making the rounds on Twitter. full force.
. He instantly posted it to Twitter (http:// twitter. The Web traffic going to the photo was so overwhelming that TwitPic’s servers temporarily went offline.248 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Figure 13-11: iReport and citizen journalism. @jkrums. which hosts photos and tweets a link to them on the user’s Twitter account. a Twitter user on board a ferry that raced in to rescue passengers. A January 2009 news event that highlighted Twitter’s potential for citizens to act as journalists was the emergency landing of a plane in the Hudson River in New York City after a run-in with migrating birds led to the loss of both engines. took an incredible iPhone picture of the floating plane and the passengers being evacuated. Twitter users were arguably the first people to hear about it because eyewitnesses posted instant reactions. Janis Krums. The astonishing photo was retweeted and passed around Twitter so quickly that it hit international media outlets within minutes (see Figure 13-12).com/jkrums/status/1121915133) using a third-party service.
Help Find My Child and other similar organizations have also been working on finding lost children through Twitter. Recently. Tumblr. @helpfindmychild is an organized international effort coordinated through one office to use Twitter to find missing children. the number of Twitter-generated #AmberAlerts has risen. not just afterwards. Twitter is helping make the world safer for children. which don’t come from a centralized source. Twitter was used to pass word of a blood drive to help victims. . As a part of the citizen-journalism movement.Chapter 13: Changing the World. During the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. and several children have been reunited with their families because of the observations of regular people who cared and paid attention (see Figure 13-13). Citizen journalists can do more than just observe — Twitter’s immediacy and portability (because of its availability on mobile devices) makes it possible for people to report during the moment. Unlike the unofficial #AmberAlerts. and TwitPic. directed by the Twitter users who took them. One Tweet at a Time 249 Figure 13-12: Pictures of the plane that landed in the Hudson River first ended up on Flickr.
While Twitter and the rise of the citizen journalist both augment and replace mainstream news. post the item as a question. you must be vigilant and ensure that the news you’re spreading is true.250 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter Figure 13-13: Amber Alert on Twitter for missing children. The most basic thing you can do is link to a reliable source or. where most Twitter rumors tend to die out. Tweeting accurate info How do you credit a source on Twitter or assure people that the news you tweet is accurate? As much as possible. offer proof that your news is valid. Twitter and other forms of citizen journalism are changing the world for the better. subsequent tweets linked to the BBC page. if you can’t verify. deliberately misleading. and flag those twitterers who are inaccurate or worse. but users need to fact-check. Once BBC had reported the rumor. Here’s how: ✓ Include a link. credit the proper sources. The BBC learned this lesson the hard way when they posted an unverified rumor during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. . Their page said Twitter was the source but did not link to a tweet that would support or deny its validity. asking others to share verification. and the rumor persisted.
Most third-party Twitter clients have built-in buttons next to each tweet in your stream that let you easily set them up for a retweet. even though both videographers were detained. you have more space to credit the sources of your news. Always make sure that you leave the name of the twitterer you are retweeting to acknowledge your source.qik. then post it to the Web. and the video posts to YouTube. but you should also be certain that the people in your network feel the same about you. live videos and broadcast them for free online. One Tweet at a Time ✓ Create a companion blog. Sometimes when retweeting.com) that lets you record short. ✓ Qik: A free Web application (www. Twitter has added a feature that quotes the tweet verbatim. affordable way to grab live video of an event while it happens. and even chat. each of which have different applications depending on why you are sharing the other user’s tweet and what you may want to add to it. Pure Digital Technologies manufactures this video camera. The retweet (where one of your followers repeats your tweet for the benefit of her own followers) is critical to networking and viral spread. ✓ A Flip video camera: A nice. just like Twitter. ✓ If you retweet. Two different videos of pro-Tibet protests made it to the world from the 2008 China Olympics because of Qik. 251 Gathering your journalistic tools You can use these tools to prepare for your Twitter-inspired citizen-journalist moment: ✓ A mobile phone that has a camera and/or video camera: Most cellphones have at least the former these days. ✓ Don’t underestimate the power of the retweet. the 140-character limit means that you have to take out names or letters to make the message fit.Chapter 13: Changing the World. Make sure to go into your blog after you send your tweets and credit each story wherever possible. It posts a link to Twitter so that your followers can view the stream live. Not only should you make sure that the people you follow and associate with are trustworthy. but several other . try to credit the original poster. Retweets of your posts give them a level of validity because retweets prove what you say is worth repeating. In this blog. Link to that blog in your tweets. And make sure that you have a cellular data plan so you can send your photos. ✓ Build a network based on trust and continued reliable information.com and its official mobile apps. Twitter clients offer you a choice between the two retweeting methods. leaving you no way to comment. as well as to the Qik site.
. If you ever take live video or pictures of people. ✓ An account on a free photo-sharing service: These services include TwitPic and Flickr. to at least warn them that you plan to broadcast the images or post them online. pocket-sized video cameras. it should be common sense to get their permission or. it may be illegal to post those images without the subjects’ permission. consult a legal professional. if circumstances don’t require permission. Depending on where you are. which accept mobile uploads for sharing your still photos. If you intend to capture video or pictures for distribution online with regularity.252 Part IV: Knowing Why We Twitter electronics companies (such as Kodak) make similar.
Part V The Part of Tens .
. and uses for Twitter that you may want to check out while you’re tweeting away.L In this part . services. we highlight neat tools. we include The Part of Tens in Twitter For Dummies. In this part. . ike every For Dummies book. .
The following tools are the best that we find right now. view your Facebook account (and post to it selectively. see Chapter 9.Chapter 14 Ten Twitter Tools In This Chapter ▶ Organizing your Twitter world with the right applications ▶ Getting down to business with the help of Twitter tools ▶ Connecting your Twitter account to your other online accounts ou need the right tools to get the most out of Twitter. so the list of tools that you can choose from is always growing. check out oneforty. we want to tell you about a few of our favorite examples. Web sites. Each time we tried to come up with a list of the top ten tools. Literally. (For more on Adobe Air. of course. we’ve compiled a list of tools at Laura’s oneforty. So. popular new tools emerge all the time.) It allows you to put people in groups.com Type: Desktop client TweetDeck is an Adobe Air application that gives you the tools you need to keep track of large numbers of people in your Twitter stream.” What is the best tool for you really depends on your needs. .com for the latest and greatest. and applications are created for Twitter users every day. Y TweetDeck: Connecting with Many www. which give you a fun sampling that will give you some sense of different ways you can use Twitter. as well). keep permanent search windows open. but that might change by the time the book goes to print.tweetdeck. New tools.com at http://one forty. because of this problem.com/i/toolkits. To help get you started. It does all this in a customizable interface. and much more. services. keep track of who’s talking to you or about you. we realized it’s just not possible — too many great innovations are being built on Twitter’s “platform. and.
Twhirl is missing a few key features for managing (and listening to) many followers. however it was acquired by Twitter. keep some kind of records of how many people clicked. a video messaging company that has fully integrated its video service into the new desktop application for Twhirl. Qik. Seesmic Desktop: Managing Multiple Accounts www. Tweetie used to also be an iPhone app.ly): Make links fit into 140 characters. ✓ Search and listening (Twitter Search): Search tweets in real time. ✓ Smartphone client (Tweetie/iPhone. and keep track of your connections aren’t that great yet.com/ tweetie-mac). and preferably. keep track of what you’ve linked to. monitor keywords and hashtags. and subscribe to search results. or audio. Recent contender to the throne is Tweetie for Mac OS X (www. ✓ URL shortener (bit.twhirl. but tools to find. TwitterBerry/BlackBerry. A shortcut to make sense of it is to think about six essential types of tools that most any twitterer should try. or also shortened the link. and has since become the official iPhone mobile Twitter app. Last.256 Part V: The Part of Tens Six essential types of tools The Twitter ecosystem is really complex. video. Inc. repeated. ✓ Multimedia sharing (TwitPic. Utterli): Embed and share links to photos. we have directories.. It can be overwhelming. FriendorFollow): Your network is the most important thing about Twitter. For now. We also include some of the best examples for each: ✓ Networking (Twellow. but it makes up for its shortcoming in the ability to have multiple accounts open at the same time. follow. ✓ Desktop client (TweetDeck & Seesmic Desktop): Dedicated software on your computer that makes interacting with Twitter easier. PocketTwit/ Windows Mobile): Dedicated software on your phone that makes interacting with Twitter easier.fm.org Type: Desktop client Twhirl is owned by Seesmic. to make your Twitter stream a whole lot more than a bunch of text. .atebits.
Facebook (www. you may have trouble finding the perfect Twitter client.com/ seesmic_desktop) which offers a great deal of functionality beyond Twhirl and beyond Twitter. Even more frustrating. Make sure that you have full disclosure in your profile somewhere if you have multiple people tweeting for your company or you have a ghost tweeter tweeting for you.com Twhirl offers ways to interact with some of your other favorite social services.com). such as identi. and TwitterBerry http://code. all carriers use different browsers and standards. (http://seesmic.Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools Also available from Seesmic is Seesmic Desktop.ca (http://identi.ca) or 12Seconds (http://12seconds. for example. 257 CoTweet: Corporate Tweeting https://cotweet. PocketTwit. Smartphone Clients Twitter. from keeping organized and letting more than one person maintain an account to scheduling tweets ahead of time. For shared accounts. Like the social media listening tool Radian6. Still in beta (meaning that new features and functions are being added all the time).com). tv).com/p/pocketwit http://blackberry.facebook. .com Type: Business dashboard If you want a corporate solution that lets multiple users monitor and update a single account and displays all of your Twitter accounts in a single interface. but the planned feature set should take care of most of your company or organization’s Twitter needs. this service is hit or miss on features. and FriendFeed (http://friend feed. authors usually sign the end of their tweets with an ^ and their initials. CoTweet lets companies assign individual tweets to employees for follow-up.google.com/twitter Type: Smartphone clients If you have a mobile phone. you should look at CoTweet.
as of April 1. the best client out there. Though there are other options on the market for the BlackBerry. accurate information about people. It’s like having TweetDeck on your phone.) ✓ Twitter for BlackBerry: The folks at RIM have cooked up their own Twitter application for BlackBerry handsets. Check your carrier’s data and text charges before using these services. avatar-included interface. Use more than one solution to find followers if you want to get a more interesting and beneficial demographic. ✓ TwitDroid: For Android phones. Twellow: Finding People to Follow www. companies.twellow. (We talk about TweetDeck in the section “TweetDeck: Connecting with Many. try the one by RIM. in a slick iPhone interface. but some of the attached services may come with hidden costs for use if your phone is not already on unlimited data. and a nifty. the official Twitter iPhone app (previously called Tweetie 2) is the way to go. It doesn’t have the sexiest interface. but Twellow was the first. PocketTwit is made by Google Labs and offers several nice features. Here are some of our favorites for each platform: ✓ Twitter: If you have an iPhone.com Type: Networking .258 Part V: The Part of Tens making it impossible to find one client to fit all phones.) Find it in the iTunes App store on your Apple device. for the most pure Twitter experience. but it has a fantastic database of easily searchable. Twitter may be free. FriendorFollow: Managing Followers and Followings http://friendorfollow. It also has a companion desktop client — an added bonus.com Type: Networking Many directory sites have come and gone. 2010. ✓ PocketTwit: For Windows Mobile phones that have touch screens.” earlier in this chapter. (And that’s not an April Fool’s joke. multiple-account management. and categories.
and you never know whether that user might have just missed you.com Type: Publishing This handy service lets you schedule periodic scrapes of your blog for new posts. jobs.com also offers eight more helpful and nicely integrated Twitter tools covering polls.Chapter 14: Ten Twitter Tools This Web site lets you see whom you’re following. Also make an EventBrite (www. Twitter doesn’t require you to follow someone back. business. And you can fix any follower/following discrepancies right from the site interface. It’s worth mentioning that TwtVite parent www.php?id=2344061033) page to make sure that you’re giving people a way to connect if they don’t use Twitter yet.com) or Facebook Event (www. travel. It then keeps track of who has RSVPed for you. Twitterfeed gives you a simple and easy way to drive traffic to your site or alert friends to a new post without having to remember to do it separately. avatar-based grid.com Type: Miscellaneous This quick and easy Web site lets people tweet out their RSVP to your event. Try saying hi with an @reply to see whether you can get to know that person better. and even virtual pets. . and which follows are mutual — all in a nicely tabbed. 259 TwtVite: Event Planning http://twtvite. Twitterfeed: Getting Your Blog Posts to Twitter http://twitterfeed.com/apps/application. and then link these blog bits up on Twitter. This service offers the added bonus of marketing before the event while people tweet about their attendance.eventbrite. greetings. facebook. Don’t unfollow people just because they don’t follow you back. who’s following you.TwtApps.
reporting your business lunch or tracking your gas mileage is only a tweet away. simply send a direct (private) message to xpn to keep track of your spending. You can also add comments on the pictures themselves. Users can upload photos via camera or mobile phone and then share those photos on Twitter.com Type: Multimedia sharing TwitPic and YFrog are popular image-sharing services for Twitter. Xpenser: Keeping Track of Your Expenses http://xpenser. . freshbooks. you don’t have to worry about your followers seeing the information. You can use Xpenser to get yourself in the habit of recording your expenses.twitpic.com / yfrog. TwitPic and YFrog www.260 Part V: The Part of Tens Set Twitterfeed to check your blog only every few hours to prevent your Twitter stream from seeming spammy. Now. Because the updates are made via direct message.com Type: Financial Xpenser is a neat tool that integrates with sites such as FreshBooks (www.com) and applications such as Quicken to help you keep track of your business and personal expenses on the go. After configuring your account.
com Type: News. In no particular order. here are ten that stand out because of their usefulness and overall appeal to Twitter audiences.bnonews. not an automatic RSS feed. and people are creating Twitter-based presences. as well. Because of that. best known for mashing up Wall Street with video podcasting to create the highly successful WallStrip. and Oprah coming to Twitter. StockTwits @StockTwits http://www. and some you just use directly through Twitter. Cofounded by Howard Lindzon. Ashton Kutcher. and Demi Moore.Chapter 15 Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services In This Chapter ▶ Staying in touch with the world through Twitter services ▶ Organizing your Twitter life ▶ Keeping up with the folks on Twitter W ith events like the Hudson River plane crash. causes. This simple feed gives you ongoing breaking news from around the world.com Type: Financial. and hundreds of innovative Twitter-based services are emerging to support that. Actual humans maintain and update it.stocktwits. many businesses. Some have separate Web sites. It has a good track record of beating many of the major news outlets for breaking news — and it has a good track record for accuracy. BreakingNews @BreakingNews http://www. buzz about the service is making Twitter go mainstream fast. .
exectweet. a creation of Mike Langford (@mikelangford) helps you track your Twitter use by group or thread. Tweecious takes only a moment to set up. This service. or by using the TweetDeck plug-in. But what made the difference for her was noticing that she could use it to .net/tweecious/get Type: Publishing. this little tool makes it easy for you. Now. Turns out that’s pretty normal. If you post links to Delicious (http://delicious. join and create groups on any topic imaginable. using Twitter as the conversation medium at its core.tweetworks. Tweecious even looks at the rest of the tweet and automatically tags the link with relevant categories or keywords.com. Laura pretty much laughed at Twitter when she first heard about it. People who like to keep track of a variety of Web pages and tend to lose them on Twitter may find this tool very handy. Tweecious: Use Delicious to Organize the Links You Tweet http://friedcell. You can use StockTwits at its Web site. and share media with single-click tagging.com Type: Social threading and conversation tracking.262 Part V: The Part of Tens StockTwits plays off the fact that investors who tweet like to tweet about stocks. your posts to Twitter that include links can also automagically go to Delicious. online or on your iPhone with the use of public or private groups. Tweetworks @Tweetworks or www. by following @stocktwits. Tweetworks allows you to engage in fully threaded conversations. and it even reads shortened URLs and extracts the original link.com Type: Networking. ExecTweets www. Once you have a Delicious account. a social bookmarking service that allows you to share links with your friends). StockTwits is essentially a community and social exchange of snippets of conversation about stocks. Like millions of other people.
An example: Boolean Operator AND If two or more words are specified in the search. meaning you do not need to type “AND” into the search.. we have ExecTweets to let you easily follow the tweets of some of the world’s smartest. TweetGrid supports Boolean Search Operators and other advanced search techniques. in real-time. Dive in and find inspiration. events. leadership. The search results will include all of the search terms by default. and resources from some of the brightest business minds in the world. conversations. if you wish. he’s taken to a page where he sees all the links you bunched together and can click on whichever ones he’s interested in.tweetgrid. It takes several links and shortens them into one minimal URL that people can click to access the links.Chapter 15: Ten Useful Twitter-Based Services surround herself with successful. . people. they are automatically updated in the grid with no need to refresh the page. ideas. Richard Branson? Check. As new tweets are created. When the user clicks the Link Bunch link. hashtags. etc. but Link Bunch offers a URL shortener for bundles of links.com Type: Search Utility. we discuss that you can use Twitter to link to one URL. interesting people who would motivate her as a homebound working mom. you may still type AND (in all capital letters) between search terms.ch Type: URL shortener. groups. Link Bunch http://linkbun. “AND” is assumed. most successful executives. phrases. TweetGrid is a powerful Twitter Search Dashboard that allows you to search for up to 9 different topics. 263 TweetGrid www. Jack Welch? Check. In Chapter 7. Nowadays. However.
and other files.264 Part V: The Part of Tens Tweetree www. gradeable. but it will definitely show you who is active in your area. claiming that you are more. The service helps you see how you measure up to other tweeters around the Web and specifically in your area. talks to. Your TwitterGrade of ## is a percentile. who follows. It has an outstanding database of songs.fm http://blip. You can use this Twitter-based music service to DJ songs onto Twitter. Blip. Tweetree might be your answer to making your Twitter conversations easier to read. The system takes into account not only how many followers you have. and the service allows you to make mixes for your Twitter following. or if you have a hard time following conversational “threads” back and forth. Ultimately the grade doesn’t mean a whole lot. which includes inline links.com Type: Directory. and retweets you. TwitterGrader http://twitter.fm Type: Multimedia sharing. videos. well. . interests.grader.tweetree. and location.com Type: Reading. and more. This little service threads your tweets into a tree. and helps you find people whom you may want to follow because they mesh well with your ranking. If you think the Adobe Air application that you use to view Twitter leaves your stream looking cluttered. but how you converse and engage. who you follow. than ##% of other twitterers. This Twitter-based service ranks you using a secret formula developed by its creators at HubSpot.
confrontational. they prefer side-byside. Y Plain Old Networking Twitter is an extremely powerful networking tool for several reasons. Laura has barely used business cards at all. face-to-face interaction. It leaves an easy breadcrumb trail back to someone she’s chatted with and sets the stage for gradually getting to know more about them — or not — over time. in practice. .Chapter 16 Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter In This Chapter ▶ Making education fun and accessible ▶ Getting a planned event up and running ou can use Twitter for much more than keeping up with your friends and family. Twitter actually mimics the natural process of how humans get to know one another. In this chapter. just being able to forge an electronic connection using something as short and simple as a Twitter handle is incredibly powerful. On a strictly utilitarian basis. random interaction around gradually discovering the things they have in common. Track your expenses. Twitter also creates an environment of random interactions that’s really conducive to discovering new people with shared interests and for getting to know a more total picture of who someone is and what interests them. Routine. The possibilities are endless and expanding every day. low-level interactions weave the fabric of community that builds trust and holds us all together. . People don’t like demanding. get your latest homework assignment. get restaurant reviews or recommended wines. . It’s so much simpler for her to connect to the person she’s just met on Twitter by sending f username as a text message to 40404. As contrived as it is when you think about it. we introduce you to ten cool ways you can use Twitter. Since October 2007. random. . especially since you can make that connection via mobile phone right when you first meet.
or the Hudson River emergency landing in January 2009 all broke first on Twitter and were then picked up by the mainstream broadcast media. and @CNNBrk competed with Ashton Kutcher (@APlusK) to be the first on Twitter to get a million followers. Twitter has become a more viable method to track spending. report delays. Xpenser. Journalists and media organizations. terrorist attacks in Mumbai. (Ashton won. Some airlines. If you lose a bag or are experiencing flight delays. like JetBlue (@JetBlue). and you can easily lose what really has happened until a definitive account is posted on a major news site. by the way. Sourcing standards for journalism still apply.) Travel Airlines. have taken it one step further and use Twitter to track flow at various airports. such as The New York Times or CNN. are trying to reach out and help customers through Twitter. monitor problems in real time.266 Part V: The Part of Tens Breaking News Twitter continues to grow as a resource for breaking news. now look to Twitter as a legitimate source for news. like Southwest (@SouthwestAir). especially if you have an iPhone. You can connect with many travel-focused companies using Twitter. and donated 20. is now one of the top Twitter accounts. and more crop up to help you manage your money. Finance As new Web applications like StockTwits. and so on. Add in helpful financial advice from your fellow Twitter users. in fact. some airlines. CNN. and you can see how Twitter might become a genuine force in the financial world. of course. Anchors have integrated Twitter into their on-air shows.000 malaria nets to charity. Events like the recent earthquake in China. . trains. along with consumers. car companies. and more all use Twitter to keep their corporate finger on the pulse of a lot more than just brand perception. You can even find cab companies on Twitter that offer more innovative ways to find a ride once you’re on the ground. at least by following.
many of whom are sharing thoughts on where and what they’re eating in real time. They’re looking to consumers. Some authors have been able to land publishing deals through Twitter. or just on-the-fly commentary about what and where people are drinking. Books Authors and readers alike have discovered new books to read and recommended books to others on Twitter. thanks to the real-time recommendations of Twitter friends. and more. When you start listening. Famous writers. Britney Spears (@BritneySpears). and Spirits Yelp. actively engage fans around the world. However you look at it. 140Story. Others release serials. If you’re wondering about a specific restaurant. Dave Matthews (@DaveJMatthews). Music Musicians. and P. both signed and unsigned. and endless Web sites that aggregate reviews or impressions of the restaurant industry are on Twitter. live streaming of tastings from personalities like Gary Vaynerchuck (@GaryVee). such as Neil Gaiman (@NeilHimself) or Paulo Coelho (@PauloCoelho). Wine lovers have found a whole new world for their passion for the grape on Twitter. Chowhound. one chapter at a time on Twitter. but thousands of recording artists at all . Twitter is bridging serious gaps in the wine industry. connect more deeply to fans. right from the mobile phone. you’ll often discover a phenomenal amount of instant connection and support available on both sides of the pen through Twitter.Chapter 16: Ten Cool Ways to Use Twitter 267 Food. Twitter is full of readers. One service. and get the word out about their music. And when you begin contributing. More people are discovering wine or spirits that they might not have encountered before. Whether it’s Twitter Taste Live (#TTL) by Bin Ends Wine (@binends wine). you’ll find book clubs. Wine. John Mayer (@JohnCMayer). Diddy (@iamdiddy) are among the most famous musicians twittering. are finding Twitter an effective tool to build a fan base. food blogs. actually uses tweets to write stories. writing groups. increasingly you’ll be able to search for the name and see what people are saying about it.
Classes with a Twitterfueled back channel (ideas. Twitter is also integrated with other event planning Web sites. questions. or social-networking event off the ground. You can find everything you need. The ease of use makes it appealing to many agencies and groups.fm around. pulling tweets right into the launch page. Conference attendees share insights and links from the conference. creating a virtual community for remote colleagues.268 Part V: The Part of Tens levels are making innovative use of it. including Twitter veterans Matthew Ebel (@MatthewEbel) and Samantha Murphy (@thehighwaygirl). You can manage events on Facebook using a custom application within the platform.fm allows you to share your favorite songs with your followers on Twitter. Schools are using Twitter to communicate with their communities. quickly getting out information and cutting down on the cost of mailings. (Blip. right in your Twitter stream. allowing attendees to find and follow each other before and after the event itself. such as EventBrite. You can even update both at once with TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop. as well — especially with tools such as Blip. You can even use Twitter to give microdonations to your favorite charity. Event Planning The immediacy and reach Twitter allows can really help you get your next conference. party. including the esteemed Harvard Business and Law Schools. Charities and Causes Charities and causes find Twitter an easy way to get word out about their passions. . and comments coming from the audience) have been taught at colleges and universities around the world. People use Twitter to raise awareness and money for a wide variety of international causes and charities.) Education Teachers are starting to tweet their lessons. Fans find Twitter a great place to discover new music. Students are tweeting questions about their homework. observations. The charity Social Media for Social Change (@SM4SC) exists only because of people who came together on Twitter.
Back then. FTW: Abbreviation of For the Win. bot: An account run by an automated program. a quick way to show appreciation or enthusiasm. Drunken tweeting can be amusing for your Twitter stream. In Twitter’s early days. The opposite of FTW. . DIAF: Abbreviation of Die in a Fire. Many of the shorthand abbreviations on Twitter have their roots in the vernacular that arose in video games. FTL is a quick way to show disappointment or dissatisfaction. and many Twitter users casually use the expression FailWhale to show disapproval of anything on or off Twitter that isn’t working properly.Glossary AFAIK: Abbreviation of As Far as I Know. You can often spot these bots by a generic “hot chick” avatar or their uneven follower/following ratio (meaning that they’re following hundreds or thousands of people but have only a few following them back). when Twitter made its first big splash. such as the ones that pull in all breaking news headlines from a media outlet. direct messages: Private messages sent to specific Twitter users in your network (abbreviated DMs). Twitter’s early adopters. the tiny startup was known for unreliability because its rapid growth had outpaced its server power. the FailWhale made an appearance as often as several times a day. FailWhale: The image of a cartoon whale that appears when you try to load a page on the Twitter. The term comes from gamer and hacker speak. hacker forums. But you also can find bad bots.com domain when the domain’s servers are overloaded. usually filled with links to Internet marketing sites or porn. dweet: A tweet sent while under the influence. but it can have lasting consequences for you because Google indexes all tweets. or instant-message programs as far back as the 1980s. which put out only generic tweets. FTL: Abbreviation of For the Loss. for example. who tend to be the first to use a new gadget or technology. expresses extreme anger with a person or about an idea. Be careful with dweeting! early adopter: The enthusiastic people. But don’t get too worried: The days of the FailWhale’s rampant appearances on Twitter have been over for months. You can find good bots. are the ones who joined before or during the SXSW (South by Southwest) conference in March 2007. often closely tied to the Silicon Valley digital-media community.
RT or R/T: Stands for retweet. #journchat is a community of PR pros and journalists who discuss their trade every Monday evening. you can find tons of Twitter metrics out there.grader. Twitter users who start to encounter this problem sometimes start to refer to their Twitter stream as the noise river. you’re going to see more and more tweets. check out your Twitter grade at TwitterGrader.270 Twitter For Dummies. At the time of writing. IMO or IMHO: Abbreviations for In My Opinion or In My Humble Opinion. Either way.’” To see all tweets that are prefaced with OH. and even communities can (and do) form around them. giving credit to the original user. hashtag: Words preceded by the # symbol. hashtags flag something as a keyword for searches. You may have to put forth more effort to sift through to the good stuff. microsharing or microblogging: The niche of social media that encompasses Twitter. Other services — such as Jaiku.com (http://twitter. and Plurk — have also specialized in microblogging. but none of them has achieved anywhere close to the following that Twitter has. follow @overheard on Twitter. OHs look like this: “OH: ‘Did somebody smell bacon? Because I sure did. as real-time (but virtual) events. They’re surprisingly powerful. metrics: A way to measure what the service means for business and individuals as it relates to return on the time invested. it will be your username with an @ tacked on the front. Twitter’s equivalent of quoting. noise river: While you add more and more people to your Twitter stream. Because Twitter has so many analytical applications built on its API. Pownce. If you come across a tweet that you want to quote. Several microsharing services have already been shut down by their creators. Also called @mentions.com). In your Twitter sidebar. Basically. After using Twitter for a little while. usually in real life. or if you turn on Show All @Replies (in your Twitter settings). 2nd Edition FWIW: Abbreviation of For What It’s Worth. either because you send it to the wrong person or you accidentally send a public tweet that you intended as a DM. mistweet: A tweet that you send in error. Used to anonymously quote something funny that you heard. @replies: Public tweets directed at specific people — anyone can see them and jump into the conversation. OH: An abbreviation for overheard. type . it’s a tweet you regret sending.
tweetup refers to a gathering of Twitter users organized through Twitter. tweet: Either a noun or a verb. Sunday at 1pm. Luckily. spammers: Spammers clutter up your Twitter stream (if you choose to follow them) and. you might just want to link to it directly. Many avid users toss this term about in a self-deprecating way if they find themselves using Twitter more often than seems normal. how often they’re retweeted. and you can also say. When prolific Twitter users put out a tweet that they want people in their network to retweet (for example.com).com (http://twitterholic. the term twitterholic can refer to Twitterholic. Your 140-character updates on Twitter are called tweets. spamming on Twitter is hard because you don’t have to follow anyone. or any other variety of metrics. and because Twitter works hard to remove accounts that are trying to take advantage of others and violating their terms of service (TOS). Can be based on criteria such as number of followers. If that’s the case. or even a late-night meeting of karaoke enthusiasts. DM me if interested?” By putting RT at the front of the retweet. that retweeting adds characters to a tweet and may force it over the 140-character limit.twinfluence. usually trying to sell you something.Glossary RT at the start of a new tweet. however. twinfluence: Short for twitter influence. tweeple or tweeps: Some Twitter users say tweeps to refer to the Twitter community overall.” tweetaholic or twitterholic: Someone who’s addicted to Twitter. Keep in mind. you also make sure that everyone can see your tweet because some members choose to turn off @replies that are not directed at them. tweetup: A pun on meet-up. instead. just like with e-mail and other Internet tools. how many people @reply to them. whereas others use it to refer only to those in their networks. they send you useless content. com that does social network analysis to approximate the influence of different Twitter accounts. An actual site at www. a Twitter metrics application that measures the relative popularity of Twitter users. Also. Tweetups can take many forms: a get-together for Twitter users who happen to be in the same town for a concert or festival. “I tweeted. and copy the contents of the tweet. A retweet looks like this: “RT @ pistachio Boston . many of them consciously keep it short to prevent that problem.outdoor skating party this weekend. when they announce an event or charitable cause). put the twitterer’s username in an @reply format. 271 . locals who want to try out a new restaurant or bar.
often in hopes of some kind of personal gain or monetary profit. applications. and with time. also called a feed. New users can request (and frequently receive) usernames abandoned for more than six to nine months.272 Twitter For Dummies. for example) because of that word’s negative connotations in some parts of the world. Twitterati: A pun on literati and glitterati. bona-fide celebrities are starting to tweet. often from the camera on your cellphone. Twitter stream: The constantly updating and flowing timeline of everyone that you choose to follow on Twitter. and others have been victims of squatters).com). . which is to connect to the people that interest you the most. Luckily. which automatically sends a tweet that links to the picture and provides the caption of your choice. Steve Wozniak. You’re also not allowed to squat on any account name without using it as an active account. twittcrastination: Using Twitter to procrastinate on a project or an unpleasant task. to TwitPic (www.twitpic. 2nd Edition TwitPic: One of the most popular third-party applications built on Twitter’s API. tools. Note: Don’t say “twit” (“send a twit” is never correct. and services on Twitter. twitter: Can be used as a verb (“I twittered that”) but not a noun. meaning the entire Twitter community and ecosystem of other related things. this word won’t mean very much. twitterverse: The universe of people. It’s a lot beside the point of Twitter. Twitter squatter: Much like a domain squatter on the rest of the Web. Fortunately. someone who claims the Twitter username that corresponds to a popular brand name or the name of a famous person. the guys behind Twitter deal with these people quickly if the person or brand in question wants that name back (William Shatner. not just the most popular. these are Twitter’s perceived A-listers whom users want to follow or be followed by. TwitPic lets you upload a photo.
226–227 @anywhere platform. 71. 93–94 Apple. 106 account age requirement. 112. identifying with diversifying your network. 24 . 10 alert Amber. 187 profile page authenticity. 204–206 at sign (@). 170 Android. 71 revoking application permission. 101 aggregator. 13. 44 _ (underscore character). 190 importance of. 13 authentic tweet being genuine. 34 Amazon Fail incident. 148. 15. 163–165 use of Twitter. 107 abuse. 127.Index Symbols and Numerics @ (at sign). 210 actor. 98 Arrow icon. 33 thumbnail image. 165 Google. 193 Adobe Air. 24 audience. 206 Adams. 106 aggregate tweet. 67–68 AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). 78–79.. 13. 185–186 viewing your network. 190–191 author. 134 100TWT. 156–157 AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). (ellipsis). 183–185 targeting specific networks. 32 editing photo for. 19–21 Verified. 68. 188–189 sharing links. 101 managing multiple. 211 Amber Alert.. 187–188 voicing support for social causes/ charities. 183 understanding of extended network. 171 answer. 205 address. 153 annual report. 45–46 artists. 207 Armstrong. 182 measuring influence. 133 •A• abbreviation. 256–257 signing up for. 140–142 age requirement. 152 advanced searching. 267 auto-tweet. 34 defined. 249 American Idol. 106 co-authored. 250 active research. 249 conversion tracking. 135 security. 181–182 accurate information validation. 186 joining the conversation. 24 12Seconds. Lance. Ryan. 137 avatar changing. 208 . 10 API (application programming interface) defined. 133 Open Twitter.
132 Blogger. 36 logo as. Richard.274 Twitter For Dummies. Micah. 211–212 backup. 266 BreakingNews feed. 267 bookmark. 69–70 as way of using Twitter. 152 Twitter applications for. 257 employee use of Twitter. 212 problems. 10. 257 Bing. 35–36 breaking news. 224 beta testing. 269 Branson. 229 Buck. 198 businesses advancement through Twitter. 37 bit. 50–52. 68–69. 51 in finance and budgeting. 179–181 networking by. 213 proactive. 264 blog post. 37 book. 96 in food. 234 business card. 23 Blip. 2nd Edition •B• back channel. 31 Business Week. and nightlife. mixing business with pleasure. 16. 177 mixing with personal interest. 35 profile page. 205. 127 blank slate. 127 TwitterBerry. Jesse. See also favorites bot. James Karl. 36 tiled image in. 94–97 caution of following company regulations of what to share. 213 connections. 188 BlackBerry mobile clients for. 263 . 199 logo. 81 bands. George W. 170 badge. 258 Blackbird. 206–207 conducting research. 154. 51 Brightkite. 95 impacts on Twitter. 207–209 company updates. 178 community-building. 197 customer service.fm. admitting to. 200–201 dashboard. 195–196 band and artist promotion. 204–206 building company relationships. 135 Blogline. 197 PR practitioners. 195 importance of engagement. 210 confidential information of. 197 importance of listening. 198 knowledge-sharing. 198 presentation. 238 BudURL.ly. 199 journalism. 229. 261 Brightidea. 204–206 Bearden. 170 Backupify. 36 pre-made. 177 listening to feedback. 134. drink. 213–214 large. 36 managing presence on Twitter. 37 free images for. 35–36 template. 155 Bush. 179–180 Baldwin. 135–136 balance. 268 background customizing. 212–213 favorites use. 131 BLVDStatus. 37 text. 155–157. 202 personal to business tweet ratio. 57–58 biography. 197 incentives. 164–165 BoinBlog..
38–40 as citizen journalism tool. 198–199 in publishing. 98–99 Cleese. 68–69 275 ceTwit. 249 mainstream media. lost children alert. 25. 176 using Twitter to make business look good. David. 89 setting tweet quiet time. 198 •C• Cameron. 96 reaching out. 20 charity: water.Index profile page. John. 27 Find on Twitter. use of Twitter. 251 The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual. 97 CAPTCHA code. 21 Find Friends. 171 resort and hotel. Pete. 203–204 public relations. 153 charities microdonation. 22 Sign Up Now. 21.. 245–251 tools for. 99 use of Twitter. 96 trend toward transparency. 190 button Create My Account. 13 voicing support for. 161 CNN. 101. 245–246 Hudson River emergency plane landing. 211–212 tweetup. 13 citizen journalism accurate information validation. 268 social change initiative. 246. 213 Twitter Bio section. 30 Follow All. 36 promotion and product offering. 98 color. 223 use of Twitter. 251 Byrne. 126–127 signing up for Twitter on. 193 sending direct message by. 98 impersonator. 232–233 as Twitter-based event. 153 number. 90. 196 Twitter profile page. caution of posting on Twitter. 250 Amber Alerts. 23 Cashmore. 39–40 setting up to receive tweet. 13. 266 Coldplay. 178 in tourism and travel. 249 China earthquake. 151–154 cellphone associating with Twitter. John A. 36 Color Wars. 194 celebrity following on Twitter. 96 in retailing. 147–150 mobile. 246–247 social change initiative. 201 Cloudlet. 40 as way of using Twitter. 98 client desktop. 212 record keeping. 27 Next Step. 14 usernames for. 177 small. 196–197 Java-enabled. 266 church. 249 engaging in. 177 social capital. 62–64. 196 use of Twitter. 159–160 . 248 lost children alert. 22 turning tweet notifications on/off. 95 separate Twitter accounts for. 233 cautions. 232–233 children.
89 sending using Direct Message interface. 99–100 DISQUS. 148–150 searching for. See also friends connecting with people. business. 209 use of Twitter. 41. as use of Twitter. 50 alternative to. 95. 245 deleting tweet. 142 deceptive activity. 204 dashboard. searching by. 49–50 directory. 200 customer query. 106 Defren. 165 corporate tweeting. See businesses company update. 2nd Edition Comcast community-building. 112. 269 length constraint. 257 CoTweet. 95 using Twitter as strategy to customer service. 49–50 . 101 crash. 227 customer service. computer. 26–29 finding by geographic location. 262 Dell computer. 238–239. 78 inviting. 189. 200 desktop client about. 150 as way to use Twitter. 12 contacts. 206–207 computer crash. 207–209 companion blog. 220–224 meeting in public. 14. 147–148 list of apps. joining. 202 DM (direct message) accidental sending as tweet. 86 conversion tracking. James. 200–201 •D• Dalai Lama. 48 defined. 18. 257 data-sharing. 58 Delicious bookmarking service. 48 sending by cellphone. See DM Direct Message page. 98 DanceJam. 88 private notes via. 206 commentary. 27 importing. 243 Current. 81 community-building. 26–27 importing from e-mail account. 52. 216 contest. 267 Digsby. 48–50 @replies compared to. 150–151 direct message. 213 connecting. 170 Create My Account button. 205 creative purpose organization. 234 DIAF (Die in a Fire). 21 Creative Commons. 257 Cox. 269 Diddy. 79–80 making new friend. 90 conversation. 88 compared to @replies. Ellen. Todd. 28 Degeneres. 29–31. 48 compared to tweet.TV. 87 community efforts. 95 comedian. 250 company. 217–219 finding.. 238 date.276 Twitter For Dummies. 170 confidential information. 13 community leads. business. P. 65 Comcast Cares account.
Index setting up to be sent to e-mail box. turning on. See update stream feed reader. 105–107 event planning. 217 how to find. 251 Follow All button. 89 277 •F• Facebook. 66 Flickr.). 51 marking tweet as. Jimmy. 95 ellipsis (.. 266 eBay. accessing by using Twitter. 110. 128–129 importing contacts from. 245 Everyone timeline. 217 encouraging more. 266 financial status. 96. 79–80 notifications. 269 •E• early adopter. 88–89. 236. 87. 89–90 figuring out who’s following you. 129–130 using Twitter through. 219 dweet. 14. 27 followers artificially increasing numbers of.. 31 third-party clients for Twitter. 13 Dorsey. 26–29 Firefox browser. 247. 128–129 shorthand for sending. 119 uses for. 262–263 experts. 193 Find Friends button. 98 favorites bookmarking tweet as. 212–213 enthusiast. 50–51 shorthand code for sending. 17–18 downtime. 233 donation. Jack. 82 . 199 FeedDemon. 156 Facebook Event. 131 Feltron. 128–130 employee use of Twitter. 51 viewing favorites of others. 259 EverNote tool. 67. 171 FEMA. 27 Find on Twitter button. 106 extroverted and introverted people. 168 gaming. 250 Fail Whale. 52–53 ExecTweets. 55 picking people from address book. 228. 55 when to use. 268 education. 268 EventBrite. Nicholas. 55 finding your. 269 earthquake. 259 fact checker. 251 Flip video camera. 118 User Does Not Follow You error message. 136. 2 feed. 79–80 signature line. 30 Find People link (Home screen). 236 finance and budgeting businesses. 42 finding contacts. 51 domestic abuse. 64–65 feedback. 269 Fallon. Matthew. Frank. 259. 11. 268 Eliason. 156. caution of posting on Twitter. 112 business use. 84. 243–245. 44 e-mail direct message sent to. 228 explicit language. 13 etiquette. 78 inviting people through. 67 Ebel. 218–219. 92 feature changes.
101 Harrison. 236 •H• Hammer. 260 FriendFeed. 163–165 Google Buzz. 13. 145–146 retweet. 193 Heap. 234 Greeley. Scott. 145. 2nd Edition identifying your audience. 55 viewing your network. 168–169 using Hover feature. 64. 171 patience in building network of. 81 following people cautions of following new people. MC. 270 Haslam. 54–55 shorthand for sending. 89. 156 FriendorFollow. 57–58 FollowFriday. 209 HelloTxt. Doug. 90 global change initiative. 270 event planning. 268 hashtag defined. 37 giveaway. 55. 97. 159–161 gaming followers. 136 Help Find My Child organization. 157 Google Reader. 225–226 finding people to follow. 106 Harpers. 217 User Does Not Follow You error message. 168–169. 81. 163 Google finding people to follow.278 Twitter For Dummies. 201 health details. 240. 132 tips for creating. 78 joining the conversation. 135 Frank. 95. 204 Gimp image editor. 169–170 finding users by location. 249 . 217 genuine. 269 FTW (For the Win). 221–222 through tweetup. 145 results of search for. being. Matthew. 18. 131 Gore. 181–185 listening to. 220–224 searching for topics of interest with. 121 GiftGirl. 75–82. 83 Google Alert. 181–182 •G• gadget. 67 games. 199. 223. 83 identifying with audience. 222–224 FTL (For the Loss). 77 searching specific tweet. 258–259 friends. 76 deciding to follow. 159 freelancer. 244 pros and cons. 209 Get command. Al. 269 fundraising. 16 Gustav hurricane. 81 how to follow. 190. Ze. caution of posting on Twitter. See username harassment. 170 FollowFriday. 181–186 importing contacts from e-mail account. 64. Imogen. 77–78 by searching for them. 204–205 handle. 147 food businesses. 183 tools for. See also contacts making new. 231–235 Gmail. See also charities FWIW (For What It’s Worth). 202 FreshBooks. 118–119 targeting specific networks. 168–169 searching for people. 28 creating your own criteria for. 134. 115–116. 89–90 notification when lost. 233 Harvard Business and Law School. 267 FourSquare. 187 by networking. 31 seeing who you follow. 112.
227 presence on Twitter. 228 Java-enabled cellphone. 42 Help link. 43–44 Sign Out link. 199 indexing tweet. 191. 202 interesting. 270 IMO (In My Opinion). 122 inviting contacts. 51 hexadecimal color code. 42 “What’s Happening?” box. 144 . 42 illustrated. 92 Invite command. 11 Hodgman. 29–31. 246–247 iTunes App Store. 78 keyword tracking. 14 promotion and product offering. 266 The Huffington Post. 245–251 public relations. determining your.Index Help link (Home screen). 66 introverted and extroverted people. 90 iPad. 233. 270 impersonator. 203–204 •I• identity. business. being. 199 279 Herzog. 175–177 iGoogle. 42 sidebar. 209 HootSuite. 233 hurricane. 42 helpfulness social change initiative. 198. Tony. 152 iPhone mobile clients for. 52 information-sharing. 41 Profile link. 153 JetBlue customer flight information. 94. 68–69 honesty. 235 iReport initiative. 127 official iPhone Twitter client. 248. 41 Find People link. 42 Home link. Ari. 96 Hover feature. 90 interface. 12 Home screen about. 203 HubSpot. 18 hot topic. 83 Hsieh. 229–230 instant messaging. 236 IMHO (In My Humble Opinion). See Trending Topics hotel and resort business. Hugh. 238 journalism by citizens. 99 importing contacts. 64 Ike hurricane. 44 incentive. being. 198 •K• Kanter. 61–62 Internet Explorer. 79–80 involved. 26–27 impromptu tweetup. 240 keyword searching. Beth. 127 as way of using Twitter. 243 Hudson River emergency plane landing. 10 IntenseDebate. 68 •J• Jackman. 152 mobile Twitter site for. 36 history of Twitter. John. 236 Iranian election. 237–238 Twitter-based public relations. 42 Settings link. 18 Twitter applications for.
113 themed. 98. 2nd Edition knowledge-sharing in business. 208 Lu. 46–47 metrics. 113–114 assigning people to. 136 links inserting into tweet. 109–111 Lost. 216 meme. 113 viewing who has listed you. 106 language-specific account. 11. 107 location-based tweet. 267 McAfee. 11. 98. 218 •M• Marvel Entertainment. 109–111 sharing. 205. 90. use of Twitter. 268 microgiving. 230 giving up control. 261 link blog. John. 80–81 Krums. 205. 132 Twitter-speak words. 162–167 lists adding users to. 199 LinkedIn. 114 . 270 microblogging. Howard. Claire. 43. 199 importance of. 243 Langford. 167 social media presence tools. 233 mash-up. 201 logo as background. 213–214 caution. 98 landing page. 246. 248 Kutcher. 13. Rick (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 233. 209. 90 measuring your reach. Janis. Andrew. 132 Link Bunch. 43 following/unfollowing. 37 listening for businesses. Dave. 197 to feedback. 187–188 shortened. 112–115 defined. 36 Verified. 101 Mashable. 201 Lifting the Dreamer (Lu). 229–230 private. 203. Christopher (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 210. 266 LocalTweeps. 183–185 media. 9 McCaskill. Yiying (Lifting the Dreamer). 94 Leave command. 262 language explicit. 263 link spam. 170 location finding users by. Mike. 121 Levine. 114–116 Locke. 170 searching by. 113 public. 171 Mathews.280 Twitter For Dummies. 233 microsharing. 267 Mayer. 205. 90 monitoring service for. 270 microdonation. 101 meeting people in public. 270 Microsoft PowerPoint. Ashton. 58–59 as way of finding people to follow. 218 Lindzon. 80 creating. 160–161 mentions. 142 •L• Lady Gaga.
267–268 Newsweek. 260 Mumbai terrorist attack. 125. Melanie. 120 •O• OAuth (Open Authentication). 270 Notices screen. 127. 101. 139–140. Samantha. 66 Mr. 2. 246. 67. 71. 168–169 building-community versus. 126. 202 diversifying your network. 13. 11 Odeo Web company. 270 O’Neal. 21 . 133–135 Open Twitter API. 3. 202 identifying your audience. 246 Morin. 270 mobile device. 134. 224 OneForty company. 98. 121–122 Open Authentication (OAuth). 157 news story. 240 how this book is organized. 185–186 as way to use Twitter. 215–216 targeting specific networks. 101 News Feed function. 131 •P• passive data. Tweet. 170 online organization. 204–206 use of Twitter. 101. 266 The New Yorker. 26 Twitter account. 97. Dave. 229 Newsgator. Barack. 119 On/Off username command. 68. 135–136. 240–241 use of Twitter. 243 event planning. 238–245 in real life. See username natural disaster. Yoko. Demi. 101 The New York Times. 161 new features. 265 Overheard meme. 82 Notkin. 238–245 small scale. 233 motivation. Shaquille.Index mistweet. 9. 13. 228 On/Off command. 71 OpenBeak. 236–237 NetNewsWire. 238–245 Ono. 133–135 Obama. 239 Obvious Corp. 170 multimedia sharing. 243–245 food and spirit enthusiast. 214 100TWT. 266 Murphy. 151 clients for. 2–3 Mozilla Firefox Web browser. 110. 13 MySpace. company. 268 musician promoting bands and artists. 126 281 monitoring service. 156 •N• name. 182 freelancer. 210 password security. 204 NPR. 152 organization for creative purpose. 101 nudge (shorthand code). See also cellphone about. 238–239. 181–182 measuring influence. 131 networking about. 208 in businesses. 98. 183 understanding of extended network. 167 Moore. 11 OH (overhead). 234–235. 152–154 as way of using Twitter. 249. 183–185 support system. 4–5 online. 9 Next Step button. 22 noise river.
142 PostSecret Web site. 106 positive/negative tweet. 33 searching specific tweet. 32–37 expanding by using background images. 179–181 private tweet consideration. 113 public meeting. 13 •Q• Qik channel. 201 Plaxo. 90. 226–227 fact checker. 235. 193 mixing with business interest. business. 14. 66–67 PocketTwit client. 101 PowerPoint (Microsoft). 36 customizing. 42 profile page background. 251 Photoshop program. 178 protecting personal details. 2nd Edition PDA mobile clients for. 203–204 public list. 34 color. 96 pornography. 180–181 maximizing privacy and safety. 228 Quicken. 52 permission. 212 problems. 48–50. 157 plug-in. 35–36 being authentic. 211–212 product and promotion offering. 37 PR practitioner. 208 permalink. 153 Twitter Web applications for. See also DM private tweet. 37 personal considerations. 11 politics social change initiative. 127. searching by. admitting to. 198–199 Public Timeline. 136 Pipes. 178 username for.282 Twitter For Dummies. 193 private list. 127 people. 52–53 publishing company. 64 Ping. 260 . 246 privacy. revoking. 234–235 use of Twitter. See profile page public relations. 132 Pistachio Consulting. 235. 71. 56 tweet history. 213 presidential election. 192–193 Twitter presence considerations. 258 podcasting. 132. See contacts People Search function. 153. personal use of Twitter. 97 promotion and product offering. use of Twitter. 251 question accessing the experts. 34 photo-sharing service. 228 asking good. 37 Picasa. 97. 178 proactivity. 36. 112 photo editing for avatar. 113 private messaging. 239 print media. 33 uploading. 203–204 Profile link (Home screen). 188–189 biography. 198 preacher. 135 personal use of Twitter being yourself. 77 Pepsi. 37 business. 196 changing avatar. 84 permalink URL. 24–25. 176 pre-made background. 216 public page. 35 presentation.
64–65 RT. 171 screenshot. 87 hashtag. 47 Rick Sanchez Direct. compared with @replies. 193 Reply arrow. 169. about this book. 229 record keeping. 101 river. 131 @replies. See update stream Rose. Jason. 39–40 Quit and Stop command. 206–207 Really Simple Syndication. 46–47 compared with direct message. 3 search engine optimization (SEO). 24–25 Search text box. Kevin. Amanda.Index quiet time. 66 using to pull in Twitter stream. 13. 87 Retweet feature. 41. 186 RPM Challenge. 116–117 dedicated application of Web site to handle. 270 direct message compared to. 250 crediting yourself for. 216 through personal use of Twitter. 86 old-fashioned way of. 223 Safari. 130 as way of using Twitter. 102 Schwarzenegger. 97 scrapbooking. 101 Sareilles. 130 grabbing. 223. 43 . 85 joining conversation. 47 illustration. Rick. Sara. 131 defined. moving from Twitter into. 268 Schwartz. 232 Rose. 87 283 •R• Radian6. 86 defined. 116–117 subscribing to. 48 compared with Reply icon. 65 sending back to Twitter. 47 defined. 85 RSS feed. 84 Reply icon. conducting. 163–164 readability. 16 viewing all. 241 retail business. 243 RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed access. tweet. 3 real world. 96 restaurant. 86 a link. 171 how to. 210 resort and hotel business. 122 Qwitter. See RSS feed recommendation. See retweeting •S• Sacca. 131–132 sending items to Twitter as individual tweet. 95 retweeting (RT) about. 98 school. 48 links associated with. 119 Twitter and Facebook comparison. 171 RentWiki. 45 commentary on. 125 @replies feature about. 16. 270–271 etiquette. 65 shorthand code for sending. 66 safety meeting people in public. 132 Sanchez. 87 crediting original poster. Arnold. Chris. 48 displaying/not displaying. 47 research.
240–241 smartphone clients. 119 stats. 22 from computer. See also text messaging shorthand code caution of using. 238 FEMA. 260 as use of Twitter. 122 Leave command. 148. 190 social change initiatives charity event. 56–58 topics of interest. 122–123 Whois command. See also text messaging social capital. 187–188 multimedia. 221–222 users to add to lists. 234–235 The Sharing Foundation. 122–123 for specific tweet. 233 social network adding tweet to. 118–119 Get command. 102 Shareaholic tool. Doc (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 237–238 natural disaster. 21 small scale organizing. 133 password. 119 following people. 153 SEO (search engine optimization). 135 Twitter as. 21 Terms of Service. 233 Social Media for Social Change. 20 signature line. 133 sidebar. 236 global change initiative. 18. 135–136 badge code. 19–22 Create My Account button. 37 SecretTweet. 122 @ .284 Twitter For Dummies. 223. 118 favorites. Twitter screens. 112 sharing data. 118 direct message. 127 Windows Mobile-based. 245–252 data-sharing. 221 SocialMedian. 77–78 shorthand code list. 157 . 78–79 for desktop client. 119 On/Off username command. 257–258 Twitter Web applications for. 2nd Edition searching. 101 security API (application programming interface). 236–237 politics. 77 keyword. 10 social object theory. 121–122 Quit and Stop command. 157 SocialOomph. 26 third-party application. See also Twitter Search advanced. 42 Sign Up Now button. 233. e-mail. 231–238 helping others. 120 Social Media for Nonprofits. 78 for people to follow. 10. 232–233 citizen journalism. 121 Invite command. 10. 153 Seesmic. 150 following people by. 238 information.reply. 121 Searls. 240 SHIFT Communications. 135–136 defined. 38. 28 Short Message Service (SMS). 24–25 Settings link (Home screen). 12 SMS (Short Message Service). 38. 256–257 Seesmic Mobile. 42 Shake Shack. 120–121 viewing code list online. 121 nudge. 229–230 links. 137 SocialThing. 178. 203 social cause. 43–44 Sign Out link (Home screen). 127. 112. 31 signing up for Twitter from cellphone. 201 Seashort image editor. 113 On/Off command. 31 Google search engine.
191 trust-building. 106 text messaging adjusting settings. Biz. 159 how to use. 205 Summize. 65 •T• tag cloud. 207. 144 adjusting scope. 120–121 Stewart. 199. person by person. 14 stats. 215–216 SXSWi (South by Southwest Interactive Festival). 100–101 selecting notifications. 63. 211–212 Trash Can / Delete icon. 39 Time magazine. 11. 261–262 Stone. 266 Trending Topics about. 271 Spears. 37 Terms of Service. 132–133 current favorites. 57 Tripp. 267 teacher. 159 tag word. 90. 127. surrounding yourself with. 133 social-media service compatibility. 159 defined. 9 timeline. 45 Starbucks. 58 travel and tourism business. 134 as way to use Twitter. See update stream student. See also Twitter Search support system. 267 splash page. 126 as way of using Twitter. 29. 161 tag word. 22 unlimited plan. 28. 10 controlling message-flow. 235 Taste Live. Martha. 44 TinyTwitter. 158–159 tracking trends. 158–159 TalkShoe voice post. 183 StockTwits. See update stream timestamp. 82. 106. 122 stream. 129–130 tornado. 62–63 receiving tweets. 38–40 compared with tweeting. 40 Twitter sign up. 157 Star icon. 236 TouchBase blog. 62–64 285 themed lists. 158–159 keeping up. 113 third-party applications about. 233 Stop and Quit command. 228 . update. 126–127 turning tweet notifications on/off. Gradon. 11. 155 topics of interest. 139 technological growing pains. 268 TechCrunch. 39–40 setting up to receive tweet. 19–20 Spokeo. 158–159 pros and cons. Britney. 242. 91 spam. 97 tourism and travel business. 17–18. 11. 40 setting tweet quiet time. 133 security concerns. 99.Index Southwest Air. 39–40 mobile phone setup. 13. 43. 221–222 Topify. 219 template. 45. 96 as way to use Twitter. Twitter as. 266 South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi). 153 TinyURL. profile page background. 268 successful people. 43 geolocation feature. 233 troll. 91 syndicated material. 159 as good resource for global events. 21. 233 technological change. 96 transparency. 92.
10 defined. 14 defined. 18. 186–191 auto. 271 tweet adding to social network. 29 advanced search. 260. 141–142 Tweetworks. 28. 101 authentic. 39–40 searching specific. 29 accessing. 71 Twitter business use. 108–109 getting started. viewing. 10 organization use. 161 TwitStory. 114–115 marking as favorite. 182 tweetup defined. 258 TwitGrid. 170 TweetDeck. 31–32 indexing. 271 impromptu. 263 TwitPic. 78–79 finding people to follow. 112 TwitBacks. 12–13 uses for. 137 automatic translation. 107. 142 searching by positive/negative tweet. 77 as listening tool. 271 Twinkle application. 111 TweetStats. 223. 170 12Seconds. 272 Facebook compared to. 223. 255–256 TweetGrid. 13 origin of name. 65–66. 17. 153 twinfluence. 168–169 Twitter Lists. 68. 222–224 Twitter Development portal. 134 Twestival. 131 Twitter For Dummies Web site. 262 tweep. 238 making new friends through. 68 Twitter Fan Wiki. 146 Tweecious. 1. 159 Tweetie. 135–136 aggregate. 58 direct message compared to. 71. 256 Tweetie 2. 37 TwitDroid. 178 quiet time. 68 Twistory. See also searching about. 232 Twhirl. 12–13 instant messaging compared with. 158. 56–58 Twidroid. 271 tweeple. 56–57 searching by date. 44 frequency of posts. 127 TwitScoop. 127 Twittelator Pro. 213. 262 Twellow. 133. 11 individual use. 109–111 location-based. 65. 71. 160 Twittelator. 50–51 private. 18. 127 Tweetree. 16 history of. 2nd Edition TwapperKeeper. 235. 256 Twitter squatter. 140–142 fast search. 169. 18. 48 erasing your tracks. 165–167 results page. 116 famous. See lists Twitter Search. 229. 271 Tweetake. 18 reasons for using. 142 searching by user. 142 searching by location or distance. 272 Twitroid. 143–144.286 Twitter For Dummies. 132 character limit. 133–134. 251. 154 Twitter feed. 52 links in. 147–149. 271 deleting. 142 searching by word. 264 TweetScan. 258 Twellowhood. 184. 1 tweetaholic. 272 . 107. 2 Twitter Karma.
55 TwitterLess. 176 case-sensitivity. 10. 1 flow of. 68. 24–25 searching by. 43 URL shortener about. 229. 177 e-mail address related. 235 volcano. 27. 97 U. 25 Twitter account. 127 TwitterFox.S. 10. 169 weather events. 12. 34 up-to-date information. 149 TwitterKarma. 259–260 TwitterFon application. 155 defined. 272 TwitterBerry. 133 twitterverse. 247. 24 changing. 24 unique resource locator (URL). Christopher. 44 •W• Walken. 243 Webmail software. 223. 24 SEO (search engine optimization). 76 Twittervision. 127. 109 . 271 Twitterific. 45 permalink. 69–70. 66 TwitterGrader. 245 VIP notifications. 272 Twitterville. 192–193 287 Utterli. 236 volunteer. 129–130 TwitterPatterns. 40 voice post. 92 Twitterfeed. 106 We Follow. 93–94 Verified Logo. 176 picking. presidential election. 97 U. 243 URL. 68 Webisodics. 25 for personal use. 28. 25. 134. 171. 152 TwitterCounter.S. 94 video. 272 Twitter Taste Live. 267 Twitterati.Index Twitter stream. 92 underscore character (_). 259 Tyson Foods. 25 nickname as. 236 Web site. 24 length consideration. 44 timestamp. 171 TwitterLocal tool. 235 username for businesses. National Republication Congressional Committee. 153 TwtVite. 154–155 added services. 129 uploading photo. 36 Twitterrific. 127 Twobile. 251 video-chat. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 264 twitterholic. 52 update stream defined. 184.S. 170 Twittermail. 242. 110–111. 235 •V• Verified Account. 170. 129 twitterer. 171 TwitToday. 127. 142 selection considerations. 240 •U• unconventional twitterer. 52 U. 148 The View. putting Twitter on. 68. 71. 65. 21 use of real name versus nickname. 127 Twitula.
142 Wordle. 205 “What are you doing?” question. 267 Winer. 14. Dave. 165 wildfire. 260 yourself. 205. 209 promotion and product offering. 2nd Edition WebNotes tool. 203 community-building. searching by. 131 Winfrey. Rainn. Evan. 263 Wescoat. 135 •X• XMPP feed. 97 Whois command. 15 “What’s Happening?” box. 153 wine and spirits enthusiast. 15. Wil. 98. David (The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business As Usual). 101 word. 71. Jack. 90. 156. 206 YouTube. 170 Xpenser. 235 •Z• Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. 205. 118 Wilson. 127 Windows Mobile-based smartphone. 11. 94. 44 Wheaton. 236 Williams. 67. 67. 201 Welch. 203 use of Twitter. 245 WeFollow user list.288 Twitter For Dummies. 98 Windows mobile phone. Oprah. 161–162 WordPress. 98 White House. 121 widget. 245 Wired News. Natasha. 31. 260 •Y• YFrog. 10. 100 Weinberger. 201 . 241–242. being.
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